Ellen Liberman

Rhode Island Is Still Going Hungry

How is the state working to address the problem?

If ever a community was food insecure, it was Plimoth Plantation. They settled on the shores of Cape Cod Bay with a goal of religious and economic liberty, but few survival skills. And, but for the intervention of a friendly Wampanoag Indian, Squanto, who taught them how to plant corn and squash — so goes our national myth — they…

Full House in Tiverton

Voters will decide in November if a new casino should be built in the town.

On June 21, Twin River Management Group kicked off its campaign to bring casino gambling to Tiverton with a rally and a message mailed out to more than 200,000 Rhode Islanders: Vote Yes on Question One. The sunny yellow stripe across the four-fold brochure’s cover promised to grow Rhode Island’s economy. The photos of smiling workers — a chef, a…

Crossing School District Lines

How often do kids attend schools in other areas?

Last September, Johnston Mayor Joseph Polisena, a fierce guardian of the public dollar, declared war on boundary hoppers. “We had a lot of people sneaking into the school district by giving false addresses,” says Polisena. “It costs $17,000 to educate one non-special education student in Johnston. They are stealing from the taxpayers.” He attempted to bar a Kentucky family living…

Saving the New England Cottontail

Conservationists from six states are working to increase their population.

In a small, low-slung building off the entrance of the Roger Williams Park Zoo, eleven presumably pregnant New England cottontails awaited a new generation — along with conservationists in six states. Each plastic-bottomed cage, stacked on tiered metal carts, bore an identification number for the female and the estimated due dates. By late May, only one had given birth. She…

Racing Sets Sail in Newport Once Again

Sail Newport and other players have made the city a competitive destination.

Thirty-one days before the World Match Racing Tour stormed into Newport, the docks on Brenton Cove’s westward shore floated serenely in a light wind. Fort Adams was the penultimate stop in the million-dollar sailing contest. In the last weeks before Fort Adams was aswarm with sailors and spectators, Brad Read, Sail Newport’s executive director, regarded the 240-foot pier that provided…

The Opioid Crisis in Rhode Island

What is the state doing to help stem the tide of overdoses?

Jonathan Goyer cruises to a stop at the Huntington Avenue underpass. The morning is overcast, and the wind sends a shiver through the plastic bags and paper wrappers tangled in the chain link fence beyond the curb. Not 200 feet away, clients stream in and out of the CODAC methadone clinic, but no one stirs in the tents pitched on…

New Promise for Rhode Island's College Students

How are Governor Raimondo's education plans working?

Genesis Sanchez Tavarez was a receptionist, a movie theater supervisor, a cell phone salesperson, a legal assistant — and a college student. Somehow, the Rhode Island College junior has maintained a 3.8 grade point average with a focus on public administration, justice studies and political science while running from one job to another job to school. “Less time for sleeping…

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…