Ellen Liberman

A Dream Deferred

America has long had a debate about immigration and whether undocumented immigrants should be entitled to in-state tuition. The issue rages on at the state and national level.

Right now, Deivid Ribeiro’s post-graduation plan is to model himself after Albert Einstein. Formal education was a famously hostile environment for Einstein’s febrile mind. The twentieth century’s greatest theoretical physicist did much of his early work in self-study, publishing papers that were accepted by prestigious scientific journals while working as a patent examiner. By the time Einstein, a German citizen,…

Reporter – The State Pension System

The state pension system is in the red to the tune of $9.4 billion, and everyone agrees it’s a mess. The trick is finding the gumption to fix it.

Mary Riley worked her way up the ladder to a middling rung. As a financial clerk for various state institutions, Riley, sixty-one, has helped keep the books while earning a modest living. But her talent for greasing the gears of accounting is useless for retirement math.  She knows that she never missed an 8.75 percent payment into the system in…

Reporter – Out of Sight, Out of Mind

We tend to ignore violent prisoners who are mentally ill until it’s time to release them. Then, it’s a whole different story. Should we change the rules after the fact?

It was Dale Sherman’s narrow escape that led to the arrest and conviction of Michael Woodmansee for the murder of five-year-old Jason Foreman in 1975. But Sherman never really got away. He was only fourteen when Woodmansee tried to strangle him on an April afternoon in 1982. And all the years his assailant was away in a Massachusetts prison, serving…

Reporter – The Big City Tax Rolls

Without the grand institutions — hospitals, universities, the state Capitol — Providence wouldn’t be half the capital it is now. But all those nonprofits don’t pay taxes, and that puts the city in a bind. As it stares down a yawning budget hole, what’s going to give?

Two years ago, town-gown relations in Providence hit a low. Then-Mayor David Cicilline submitted legislation that would have imposed a $150 impact fee on every student attending the city’s four private universities and colleges. A second bill would have permitted any municipality to tax nonprofits with land holdings valued at 
$20 million or more up to 25 percent of the…

Reporter

Vacancies in top posts, anti-incumbency fever and a new third party have created an election field like none other in Rhode Island this year. Place your November bets.

Day three of the ten-day race political candidates must run if they want to make the ballot, and the Moderate Party’s marquee candidate is hoofing it through a seaside subdivision in South Kingstown. Small business-owner-turned-party-founder Kenneth Block needs 1,000 registered voters to sign his nomination papers.He’s getting a good reception tonight.“Hi, my name is Ken Block and I’m running for…

Reporter

Low enrollments and test scores mean school closures — although there’s no proof they fix either problem. We do know this: They leave students and teachers displaced.

The students entered school laughing, their faces lit with liberty. One classroom had been given entirely over to boxes of packed textbooks. A teacher balanced her personal effects on a cart by the rear entrance. The kids were in no particular hurry; it was the last day of school. It was also the last day of Oliver Hazard Perry Middle…

Reporter

The recession is fading in Rhode Island, at least for those at the top. But the state needs to think long-term if the jobless are ever to join the upswing.

Rosedale Landing unveiled its $13.5 million restoration at a Wednesday afternoon luncheon. The seventy-year-old Cranston apartment building had been restored to its Art Moderne glory and the lawn, flush with spring’s first green, rolled uninterrupted to the sun-lit Narragansett Bay. It was a beautiful day to sell real estate. Sally Lapides, doyenne of the high-end market, surveyed the seventy-five brokers…

Reporter

After fifteen years of neglect and haggling, everyone’s still in the game to buy Rocky Point — including voters, in a $10 million bond question this November.

Filmmaker David Bettencourt peers through the viewfinder of his Canon 5D MKII and draws a bead across Narragansett Bay. It’s an ancient vista carved by the glaciers and, perhaps, admired by the native people once populating these shores, or by Adriaen Block, as he mapped its contours — most definitely by Captain William Winslow, who purchased a piece of Rocky Point…

Reporter

One year later, the global waiver that allowed Rhode Island to go its own way on Medicaid has patients worrying that budget cuts, not innovation, are the prescription.

Roger Williams Medical Center’s HIV Complete Care Program is a modern medical miracle. With the aid of case managers, interpreters, nutritionists and other support staff, Dr. Gail Skowron keeps HIV from immobilizing her 
patients. The program serves Rhode Islanders who otherwise would become much sicker without people to get them to their doctor’s appointments, or help them eat right or…

Reporter

We’re the only state in the country with no school funding formula. A new push to establish one must tackle an almost impossible question: how to make it fair?

The statehouse hearing room held only adults that afternoon, but Anita McGuire-Forcier saw quite clearly that her children were pinned under political crossfire. It was March 2008, and newly installed Woonsocket Superintendent Robert Gerardi stood before a state finance sub-committee pleading for legislative mercy. The district had been cutting resources every year for a decade. The student population had been…