Community News

In The Know On The East Side

From campus strikes to comic captions from Pawtucket, here's what's been happening in your neighborhood this month.


Yeah Us!
Modest though your humble neighborhood newspaper may be, it’s nice when every so often we get the opportunity to pat ourselves on the back. The Rhode Island Press Association just announced this year’s award nominees and we were excited – no, make that ecstatic – that Providence Media (which includes East Side Monthly, Providence Monthly, So Rhode Island and The Bay) won 17 awards, a record for us. When you have a staff that works as hard as ours does, it is wonderful to see the writers, artists, photographers and production people get the recognition they so richly deserve.

A Rhode Island Approach to The New Yorker
Many of our readers are undoubtedly aware of The New Yorker Magazine. One of the best features for those of us who love competition, is their weekly cartoon challenge. The way it works is they print a caption-less cartoon and ask readers to make up their own. The three best are then published and readers get to vote on their favorite. The winner gets a framed original for their home. I thought Ihadagoodoneafewweeksagobut no luck. But I was excited however, to see one of the three finalists, David Wilkner, comes from Pawtucket. The cartoon showed a mama bird in a tree talking to her three children in a nest. Hanging from a nearby branch is a fifth bird, but in a cage. The three winning lines were: “Is it weird that we have a pet?” “Never, ever put me in assisted living.” And “He was deemed a flight risk”. As we go to press I don’t know if David is going to win it, but homers that we are, we’re rooting for him. For the record, my line was “Grandma always wanted to live in a gated community.”

RISD Strike Resolved
Last month we featured Rosanne Somerson, the newly selected president of RISD on our cover. It didn’t take long for her to make us proud. One of her first challenges was to deal with a strike by the technicians at the school who were seeking a commitment that their retirement contribution would remain at 8% for the life of the contract, unless the school got into dire financial straits. Backed by over 900 RISD students marching in their support, the strike was settled quickly and, we would suggest fairly, by the new president. “Our respect for our technicians has never been in question,” said President Somerson, a longtime RISD former faculty member herself, “nor was the value we place on their service. I am committed to transparently addressing issues so we can collectively move forward in a way that continues to provide an exceptional educational and working environment (for our school).” Well said, Madame President.

Young Democrats
 Descend on Providence
When it comes to Democrats, there’s probably no place that’s as Democratic as Rhode Island. We’re basically a one party state. The place where high rolling party poobahs like the Clintons and the Obamas come to cash in. The home of the most liberal of the Ivies. Small wonder that this was the month that everyone speculated on which big name Democrats will be sending their kids to Brown. The school of course gives us no information, but fortunately The New York Times does. From them we’ve learned that Dante de Blasio, a champion debater and son of NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio, has narrowed his choices down to Yale and Brown. Meanwhile the daughter of NY Governor Andrew Cuomo has already chosen Brown and will be joining her sister Mariah who’s already at the school. Brown has had several presidential connections as well. There was John F. Kennedy Jr. of course, Amy Carter (who didn’t do so well and never graduated) and Walter Mondale’s son William. And wasn’t that Malia Obama who paid us a visit just last month? Hey, we’re not the most Democratic state in the union for nothin’.

Show Business as 
Snow Business
How ironic is this. A production company started filming in Providence in March naively assuming that those giant mounds of icy snow blocking our streets would be here until, well, maybe the start of beach season. They obviously don’t know New England weather. Turns out the first week in April they had to truck snow into Providence from the boonies to match up some early scenes. Mother Nature always gets the last laugh around here. The movie by the way is The November Criminals and stars Ansel Elgort, Chloe Grace Moretz, Catherine Keener and David Strathairn.