Providence, R.I. – Five years ago, my husband Lorne, our son Sam and I traveled to China to bring a baby girl home from an orphanage in Hunan. Our house had gone mournfully silent in April of 2002, when our five year old daughter Grace died suddenly. Since that day, our lives had been marked more by what used to be than what could be. Until Annabelle.
"Our family is revived," Sam announced in our hotel room in Changsha as we watched our eleven month old daughter grin at us.
Providence, R.I. – There are opposing reactions to news that House Speaker Gordon Fox will not let an Arizona-style anti-illegal immigration bill get a hearing.
State Rep. Peter Palumbo was the sponsor of the bill, which would have allowed police to question people they suspected of being illegal immigrants. He says he's "somewhat devastated" that Fox, an opponent of the bill, will not give it a hearing this year.
Providence, R.I. – Three companies that sold lead-based paint and were sued by the state in a landmark case cannot recover money they spent defending themselves in the lawsuit, a judge ruled Tuesday.
Rhode Island in February 2006 won a jury verdict that could have forced the three companies, including the Cleveland-based Sherwin-Williams Co., to spend billions of dollars removing lead paint from homes and buildings in the state.
Providence, R.I. – The boycott against the Westin Hotel seems to be gaining traction.
Rhode Island Hospital says it is postponing a major fundraising event at the Westin Hotel because of the hotel's ongoing dispute with its workers. On March 14, management imposed a 20 percent pay cut and a doubling, or in some cases tripling, of employee contributions to their health insurance.
Camille Viveiros, of Rhode Island Jobs With Justice, says he's grateful for the hospital's support.
West Warwick, R.I. – Thomas Jefferson was in the final year of his presidency when Christopher and Charles Lippitt built a textile mill on the banks of the Pawtuxet River in what was then Warwick. The 1808 wood frame building is not only still standing, it's still in the textile business under the name Riverpointe Lace.
Peter Palmisciano and his partner, John Ponte, bought it in a bankruptcy auction two years ago for $300,000.
West Warwick, R.I. – Walk down the main hall of Deering Middle school in West Warwick, take a right, and you'll find the health hut.
Sherrie Berger, the health assistant, stands in the waiting room with a sick student. The nurse practitioner here has already diagnosed him with strep throat. Now he needs to pick up his medication and get better.
Providence, R.I. – The Rhode Island Republican Party is taking a stand in favor of the Westin Hotel, which has imposed a steep pay cut on its workers.
The Rhode Island Republican Central Committee was going to hold a meeting Wednesday night in Bristol but moved it to the Westin to voice support for management, which is locked in a labor dispute with its workers.
Providence, R.I. – Eleven out of 36 local teachers' unions have signed onto the state's second bid for a federal Race to the Top education grant. They include Pawtucket, Woonsocket, Providence, Central Falls and Cranston.
All but two school districts have also signed onto the plan, which seeks $75 million for school reforms like tougher teacher evaluations and mid-year testing to assess student progress.
West Warwick, R.I. – West Warwick's Main Street shows no sign of the intense floods that swept through Rhode Island earlier this spring. But many of the town's small businesses paid a high price for flood-related damage. And some business people question whether the federal government has done enough to help them recover.
West Warwick, R.I. – At the Islamic School of Rhode Island, religion is a central part of the school day. Even Kindergartners learn to recite the Koran from memory. Memorizing the Koran is typical for Muslim children everywhere, according to teacher Karim Kouraj, who comes from Morocco.
"It's the key to paradise for us," Kouraj says. "We focus on the little kids now because it's easy for them. Some of them, they might be able to memorize the whole Koran by the age 12 or 13."