Culture – Feature

The Mystery of Michael Murphy

What happens when you die alone in Rhode Island?

At 10 a.m., on January 22 of this year, Woonsocket funeral director Michael Berarducci and a helper slid a modest, particle-board coffin into Berarducci’s black Kia van, closed the vehicle’s rear hatch, and began a twenty-minute drive to Resurrection Cemetery in Cumberland. Owned by the Catholic Diocese of Providence, Resurrection is 200 acres of sweeping lawns and monuments, with two…

Rhode Islanders of the Year

These people helped make the world a better place this year.

Some see the world for its faults, while others change it for the better. As 2015 draws to a close, we’re honoring people who live and work in Rhode Island who have contributed to the community in a major way over the past year. They’ve accomplished great things, not because it’s what they get paid to do, but because it’s…

How Autocrat Has Changed With The Times

The legendary local company is now owned by the British company Finlays.

A glass display case hangs near the receptionist’s desk inside the former Autocrat in Lincoln, now renamed Finlay Extracts and Ingredients USA. Rows of Autocrat artifacts are lined up on three shelves, the oldest ones from when the business was first founded as Brownell and Field Company in 1895. There are tin boxes that once held tea and coffee and…

Birdwatching Gets Big in Rhode Island

Our avian friends are attracting all kinds of new fans.

Once considered a retirees’ pastime, birdwatching now attracts every demo. But as birders have discovered, the secret world of their airborne friends is its own reality show, rife with mystery, feuding and mayhem. In a perfect world, our days on Earth might go like this: a sandy shore, a cool sea breeze, a bright June sun, a deep blue sky…

Tech 10 Awards 2015

Meet Rhode Island's top ten IT professionals.

Nerds. Computer geeks. Techies. Those interested in information technology (IT) sometimes earn nicknames with less than flattering connotations. While some might embrace these labels, others might favor innovator, visionary and entrepreneur. Either way, technology is a fundamental part of the world we live in and these ‘dorks’ are the driving forces behind it. Often confined to behind-the-scenes action, we’re thrusting…

The Tyranny of Low Expectations

How far has Rhode Island come since the sweatshop scandals of 2013?

Nicolis Garcia makes PowerPoint presentations for fun. He spends his spare time on his iMac, a gateway to information, friends, comfort and freedom. When a technical issue plagues one of his devices, he heads to YouTube to troubleshoot and fix it himself — long before his parents could be puzzled by the problem in the first place. Online, Nick’s developmental…

Inside the Rhode Island State Crime Lab

The lab has analyzed evidence in many of the state's biggest cases.

The clues to some of Rhode Island’s most notorious crimes arrive at a second-floor office in a nondescript gray building in plastic baggies, boxes, even paint cans. Police officers drive to the Rhode Island State Crime Laboratory at the University of Rhode Island with torn clothing, Glocks, paint chips, shell casings, lighters and myriad other pieces of evidence, where each…

Beat the Streets Providence Brings Wrestling to Middle School

The program aims to instill discipline while having fun.

Giselle Martinez tosses her long, dark hair over her shoulders and asks around for a ponytail holder. It’s a steamy May afternoon in the small gym at Del Sesto Middle School in Providence. Giselle, who is in the sixth grade, is about to wrestle Kevin Fuentes, who has a grade and a good few inches on her, and answers to…

High School Report Card 2015

An exclusive rankings of Rhode Island’s high schools

We  present our exclusive rankings of Rhode Island’s high schools and highlight the most academically improved since 2013. Each reminds us that smarts and learning take many forms.   Download the PDF here. Methodology.

Soil Sisters Are Digging In At Sidewalk Ends Farm

Four young friends are making a living off the land.

Down a driveway lined with wild, winding weeds, past a dark, wet pile of mulch and a few thin rows prepared for planting, past a low-set farmhouse on the left and a long, sagging shed on the right, crest a knoll, squeeze through a gap between rusty fences and arrive at a breathtaking view. Below, a field bordered on the…