StoryCorps Comes To Rhode Island

Dec 5, 2013
John Bender / RIPR

Story Corps, the organization that collects the voices and histories of people across the country is in Rhode Island.

It is a chance for homeless residents across the state to tell their story.

In the offices of the Rhode Island Coalition for the Homeless, pairs of Rhode Islanders interviewed each other. One of them had experienced homelessness, and they talked about their lives on the streets.

Richard Staples interviewed Don Larson, a man who was homeless when he was 16-years-old.

Elisabeth Harrison / RIPR

Five hundred Pawtucket families are enjoying a home-cooked Thanksgiving dinner Thursday thanks to the generosity of their neighbors.

On Tuesday, food baskets were delivered to needy families under the auspices of the Pawtucket Holiday Baskets Drive. Its chair, Laureen Grebien, the city’s first lady, said the typical recipient is a family that has fallen on hard times.

"It’s probably a family of two or three kids and somebody that, you know, is struggling with whether they got laid off or they just somehow can’t seem to make ends meet," said Grebien.

Elisabeth Harrison / RIPR

Rhode Island Kids Count is out with an issue brief on the high school graduation rate in Rhode Island.  The latest statistics show that while the four-year graduation rate is increasing, a gap remains between affluent students and their lower-income colleagues.

Peter Goldberg

Well, I don’t want to go overboard here. But “Good People” is just nothing less than a sizzling comedy with a real life message. It’s delicious, deep, delightful, and just plain dandy.

Directed with fire and feeling by Rachel Walshe, the production will have you laughing out loud and holding your breath as the characters reveal themselves.

Led by a splendid Janine Kane, the acting is as good as you’re liable to see anywhere. The sets and the goofy, great costumes add a lot, too.

Pawtucket Remembers A Veteran's Sacrifice

Nov 12, 2013
Flo Jonic / RIPR

There were wreath-laying ceremonies and parades all over Rhode Island Monday in honor of Veterans Day. But perhaps none was more poignant than one in Pawtucket.

About 200 people gathered in Pawtucket’s Slater Park for the dedication of a granite monument in memory of Army Specialist Dennis Poulin. Poulin, a native of Pawtucket, died in Afghanistan two-and-a-half years ago as the result of a rollover accident. He was 26.  His mother, Doris Poulin, said she’s overwhelmed by the honor bestowed on her son.

Pawtucket To Honor Local Fallen Soldier

Nov 4, 2013

The city of Pawtucket is getting ready to honor a local soldier who was killed in Afghanistan, Sergeant Dennis Poulin.

Massachusetts Army National Guard specialist Dennis Poulin grew up in Pawtucket.  He died two years ago in Germany, where he was evacuated after his vehicle overturned. He was 26.

Next Monday, Veterans Day, a memorial honoring his life will be held at the entrance to Slater Park in Pawtucket. 

Pawtucket Mayor Donald Grebien will join Poulin’s mother, Doris, relatives and others to dedicate a stone monument.

A developmentally disabled pregnant woman who’s been missing for a week has been found safe and sound. 

A man who had seen a missing poster of Luisa Pena noticed her walking down a street in Central Falls and contacted police.  Pawtucket police Major Arthur Martins said it’s unclear where Pena has been for the past week but she appears to be in good condition.

Susan Vollucci

There's still no sign of that pregnant Pawtucket woman who vanished a week ago. But police say there’s no evidence to support the theory that the woman has been abducted.

Twenty-one-year-old Luisa Pena vanished last Wednesday from her aunt’s home in Pawtucket.  The day before she disappeared she had reported a sexual assault to police. Her family fears her assailants came back to silence her. But Pawtucket Police spokesman Arthur Martins said there’s no evidence to support a kidnapping theory.

Flo Jonic / RIPR

Pawtucket police say there is no reason to believe a missing, pregnant woman has been abducted.  Relatives of 21-year-old Luisa Pena have expressed concern that she was kidnapped by men she had accused of sexual assault. But Pawtucket police spokesman Major Arthur Martins says there is no evidence of that.

Pena vanished last Wednesday from her aunt’s home in Pawtucket. Relatives say she has the mind of a ten-year-old, has difficulty expressing herself and can’t drive.

Pawtucket Pit Bull Ban Being Challenged

Oct 4, 2013

The city of Pawtucket says it will defend its pit bull ban against a lawsuit challenging it.  The Pawtucket ban appears to conflict with state law.

Pawtucket banned pit bulls nine years ago.  The ordinance is now being challenged by pit bull owner Albert Alix and a group called Defenders of Animals.  They said the ordinance was invalidated when the General Assembly enacted a state law forbidding cities and towns from breed-specific bans on dogs and cats.  But Tony Pires, Pawtucket’s director of administration, said the ordinance is exempt from state law because it predates it.

Credit Peter Goldberg / The Gamm TheatreCasey Seymour Kim and Alexander Platt in "Far Away" by Caryl Churchill, directed by Tony Estrella.Edit | Remove

For decades, English playwright Caryl Churchill has been accorded Goddess stature in the upper reaches of play writing circles. Fiercely political, strongly on the left, Churchill made her mark with plays of attitude and insight.

Catherine Welch / RIPR

Representatives of HealthSource RI, the state-run health insurance exchange, are meeting with Latino business owners in Central Falls Wednesday. It’s part of a push to educate the state’s growing Latino community about the upcoming exchange. Rhode Island Public Radio’s Catherine Welch was at a similar meeting last week in Pawtucket, where she learned about the challenges of translating a complex health care system to non-English speakers.

Flo Jonic / RIPR

The newly rebuilt Pawtucket River Bridge was re-dedicated Thursday.

The nearly 600-foot span connects Massachusetts and Rhode Island via Interstate 95.  The original span, built in 1958, had become so rundown the bridge had to be closed to multi axle trucks.  

Truckers who used the bridge risked a three thousand dollar ticket. Governor Lincoln Chafee remembered those truckers in his prepared remarks.

In a ceremonial signing, Care New England and Memorial Hospital will formalize a new partnership Tuesday.

Elisabeth Harrison / RIPR

Transgender issues have been the the news quite a bit lately, following the announcement from Bradley Manning, the army private who leaked documents to WikiLeaks, that she is transgender and will now be living as Chelsea Manning.

Rhode Island Public Radio's education reporter Elisabeth Harrison speaks with All Things Considered Host Dave Fallon about a Pawtucket student she profiled, who has been openly transgender for a year now.  

Hanna Rini, who is 12, started junior high school this week.