Ellen Liberman

Reporter – Collateral Consequences

Criminal convictions can linger long after offenders serve their time. Rhode Island lawmakers are considering several measures to help some re-enter society.

In 2001, social scientist Devah Pager sought to settle a debate about the poor prospects for ex-offenders after release from prison. Was it due to the circumstances that may have bred their crimes? Or was it because they had been incarcerated? She sent applicants into the Milwaukee job market to find out. The testers were twenty-three-year-old male college students who…

Reporter – Firing Away

Rhode Island lawmakers are considering strengthening gun laws further in the wake of the Newtown shootings. But gun rights supporters see it as a governmental power grab.

Francis X. Daly Jr., bespoke in a handmade uniform of a Continental line soldier, thundered on the threshold of the State House.   “Target criminals, not me!” he declaimed to scattered applause.    The sixty-one-year-old part-time accounting and living history teacher from Providence had tried to enter the Rotunda along with about 200 defenders of the Second Amendment for a…

Top Dentists 2013

177 dentists who will make you smile

Click here to see the 2013 Top Dentists list     Oral Report Insurance companies will be required to offer kids dental coverage once Obamacare takes effect. But will parents buy in? By Ellen Liberman     When the state’s Rhode Island Health Benefits Exchange opens for business in October, pediatric dental coverage will be among the essential health care…

Big Gamble

Gaming revenue is painless bounty for the state coffers — until it isn’t. Feeling the pinch now that Twin River isn’t looking too liquid.

  Debra Bissonnette and Twin River are Lincoln natives who go way back. When greyhound racing was at its peak twenty-one years ago, she was a player. When the video lottery terminals were installed in 1992, she took long “lunches” there with the girls. Bissonnette, forty-two, and her husband celebrate their wedding anniversaries at Fred & Steve’s Steakhouse on the…

Rhode Island’s 99 Percent

The Occupy movement brought attention to income inequality across the United States, and studies show the gap between rich and poor in Rhode Island has been widening for decades.

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…

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…