Culture – Feature

Fueling the Future

The value of used cooking oil

Clam cakes, french fries, fresh flounder, chicken wings, all of our favorite fried foods, spend a few crucial moments in the same place: a deep fryer, filled with crackling hot cooking oil. For most of us, those vats of oil are out of sight. They’re hidden behind the swinging doors of school cafeterias, restaurant back rooms and supermarket kitchens. But…

High School Reunion

And so much hair product, the fumes could punch a hole in the ozone layer. For those who grew up here, there’s something about those four years that lingers long after graduation and helps define who we are as residents of the biggest little state. We asked Rhode Islanders to relive that roller-coaster time and they’ve shared their favorite fun,…

The Rhode Island Red Awards

The Dumbest Moments in 2013

  Here at Reds HQ, we like to think we can fritter time away with the best of them, but even we’re impressed that at least 23,300 hours of contractor time have been wasted in an effort to update a DMV computer system. (Did we mention it’s four years behind schedule, $6.7 million over budget and still not working?!) Director…

A Hawk in the Ring

For sixteen straight years, Chief Sachem Matthew Thomas of the Narragansett Indians has fought for his tribe in the public arena — and he’s been roughed up along the way. Is the outspoken leader capable of changing the game?

It’s been forty years, but Matthew Thomas still remembers. He was sitting in a classroom in a middle school in a town that bears his tribe’s name. He recalls the color of the walls and the dingy carpet — the only things in the room darker than his own skin — and the words scrawled in squeaking chalk on a blackboard: Bloodthirsty. Savage. Animals….

Love Shack

For one large Italian family a tiny West Warwick kitchen promised more than a traditional feast.

Imagine so much food that one table can’t possibly hold it all. Imagine so many people that one room can’t contain them. Imagine two stoves with all their burners on, spaghetti sauce simmering on this one, meatballs frying on this one, water ready to boil here, sausage browning here; on this one, leftover dough from the pizza is crisping in…

Taylor Swift: The New Girl

When famously confessional pop star Taylor Swift bought a house in one of the state’s most reserved communities, the neighbors wondered how they might make her feel welcome. Then came the paparazzi.

  





She’d read about it in Us Weekly, or on Perez, or somewhere, it didn’t really matter, where the super-zoom photos had shown Swift and her parents touring a pricey waterfront property and shaking hands with local realtors. “I said, ‘That’s baloney,’ ” Adams remembers. “There are always rumors in Westerly — this one’s buying a house, that one’s buying a house — and…

Help Wanted

After high school, the system loses track of people with autism. But armed with an associate’s degree, Ondrea Robinson is making the transition to an independent life.

Ondrea Robinson really wanted the job. The opening was for a circulation assistant, helping out in the children’s room at the Harris Public Library in Woonsocket. She’d just graduated with an English degree from CCRI, where she had loved working in the library, shelving books and greeting people at the front desk.   Employment prospects in Rhode Island weren’t plentiful,…

The Freshman

On the eve of a reelection bid, Central Falls' twenty-something mayor, James Diossa, is already facing a day of political reckoning. Will voters send him back to city hall, or banish him to the wilderness?

James Diossa likes hoofing it to work.   His home, a handsome cape with a neatly kept yard and an American flag that hangs from the porch, sits on Central Avenue, a quiet area of Central Falls. Most of the houses here were built back when the city was filled with immigrant mill and factory workers who toiled to make…

Not Your Daddy's Voke-Ed

High school vocational training has undergone a reboot; now kids are learning work skills that make them job ready.

My own memory of high school, and maybe yours, runs like this: a college track for most kids, and for the rest, girls could learn to type on ancient clickety-clackety Underwoods, and the boys had wood shop, where every hammer and saw and work surface was covered in deep layers of sawdust. That might have been adequate for our fathers’…