The Bartholomewtown Podcast (

Oct 16 2020 32 mins 22

"Rhode Island's Podcast of Record!""The Gold Standard of Rhode Island Podcasts" - The Boston Globe

Balancing Historic Preservation and New Development via Providence's The Nicholson House
May 10 2019 32 mins  
A look at the juxtaposition of historic preservation and development in Rhode Island via The Nicholson House in Providence. Situated behind a stone wall and layers of trees on Blackstone Boulevard in Providence, Rhode Island’s east side, The Nicholson House is often referred to as one of the last of the great estates that defined the neighborhood for much of the 20th century. Some three acres in totality and boasting an impressive manor house and gardens, the property undoubtedly adds an element of charm and living history to the area. However, in recent times, as the Nicholson family has moved to sell of the estate, questions about historic preservation, community member and private property owner rights city planning and zoning have come into play, as a vocal group of neighbors have actively attempted to stop a would-be 10 parcel development on the Nicholson site, arguing that such a development doesn’t adhere to the city’s Central Planning standards, and would disrupt the fabric of the east side. On today’s episode, I’m joined by Providence Ward two Councilwoman Helen Anthony and Brown University professor Matthew Turner, who each live in the area, and argue that the proposed development of the Nicholson site is inappropriate. I also speak with Jim DeRentis, the buyer and seller agent on the project, who tells me that the proposed plan has already engaged in compromise, and given the evolution of housing demand and city planning, that the proposed development is perfectly within bounds. This case applies broadly to an array of debates on a statewide level surrounding how to preserve historic and sentimental aspects of the Rhode Island’s identity, while also allowing for innovation unfold.

Dual Language Education in Rhode Island: A Roundtable Discussion
Apr 23 2019 31 mins  
There’s no question that economies of the future will be strengthened by, and eventually depend on a broad, multilingual workforce and pool of innovators. Simultaneously, today, many people are unable to access educational and other developmental opportunities because of their lack of command of English, and are left out of the field of potential contributors to an improved economy. From various European explorers, to its formative roots as a colony, and through its tenure in statehood, Rhode Island has long been defined by a shifting, expanding and, now, more integrated blend of ethnic identifications. Today, perhaps more than at any other recent point in the region’s history, language barriers are becoming more and more apparent, in areas such as standardized testing and hospitalization. In a report from Friday’s The Boston Globe, Dan McGowan noted that the on time graduation rate for public school English Language Learners in Rhode Island dropped to 71.7 percent - from 77 percent in 2015 - and Rhode Island policy makers are plotting how to resolve the issue as part of a broad education rethink. Perhaps central to this rethinking could be the World Language and Dual Language Immersion Act, which in sum, would implement a statewide dual language curriculum, working to improve outcomes for both English Language Learners as well as primary English speaking students. On this episode, I’m joined by a roundtable of respected dual language educational policy advocates in Rhode Island for a detailed look at The Immersion Act, as well as the many challenges surrounding this issue. They are: Christopher Sanacore, Rhode Island College’s Erin Papa and The University of Rhode Island’s Rabia Hos, each part of The Rhode Island Road Map to Language Excellence

Two Perspectives on The RI State Democratic Committee Elections: Chairman Joseph McNamara + activist/journalist Lauren Niedel
Mar 26 2019 32 mins  
The Rhode Island Democratic Party has solidly been in control of Rhode Island politics for decades, with members currently occupying all statewide and federal elected positions, as well as a dominant segment of the state’s bicameral General Assembly. However, in recent years, more and more attention has been paid to some of the widespread ideological makeup and differences within the state party and how that diversity is represented in leadership positions and legislative activity. For the most part, leadership within the Rhode Island Democratic party has rested in the somewhat conservative, institutionalist element of the party, and less so in the more and more vocal and active progressive wing. In the 2018 election, several indicators demonstrated what seemed to be increasing momentum for progressive ideals: progressive former Representative Aaron Regunberg’s impressive, near victory in challenging Lieutenant Governor Dan McKee in a Democratic primary; push back from party members at the insertion of former Trumpian Republican Michael Earnhart as a primary challenger to progressive Representative Moira Walsh, and, several General Assembly seats - and the party’s platform - swinging towards the left in and following the 2018 General Election, including the emergence of the progressive and anti-establishment Reform Caucus in the House. In seeking to advance the progressive agenda and to shake up the nature of party leadership, several challengers to party leaders emerged ahead of this past Sunday’s State Democratic Committee election. Although Rep. Walsh, the aforementioned Providence progressive challenged current chairman Rep. Joseph McNamara for the party leadership position, she fell short of mounting a serious challenge, ammassing 28 total votes to McNamara’s 144. Following Sunday’s State Committee meeting, I was left wondering, as I often have in recent times, where is the actual center of the Rhode Island Democratic Party, is major compromise possible given the size and scope of the party’s ‘big tent’, and can the state party forge a clear and consistent identity ahead of the 2020 Presidential elections? I spoke with Chairman Joseph Mcnamara and activist/journalist Lauren Neidel in separate conversations in an attempt to pinpoint where the Democratic party is and where it may be heading.

Don Grebien (Mayor, Pawtucket, RI)
Feb 08 2019 40 mins  
The City of Pawtucket, Rhode Island sits in the northern portion of the state on the Massachusetts border, ostensibly serving as transition point between the urban Providence-metro area and rural Northwest, Rhode Island. The city has a storied history, often connected to the Blackstone River, which flows mightily through Pawtucket, once powering Samuel Slater and other’s Industrial Revolution. But in recent months, Pawtucket has seemingly been dealt a series of unfortunate industrial and economic development blows, none more prominent than the Boston Red Sox AAA affiliate, currently and historically known as the PawSox, announcing their departure from the city to Worcester, Massachusetts, after a years-long battle between local, state and team leaders over a new stadium agreement finally came to a head. In the teeth of the PawSox fiasco was Pawtucket Mayor Don Grebien, who proved himself to be a champion for his City in his attempts to collectively organize a solution to keep the team in Pawtucket. Although he was ultimately unsuccessful in constructing such a deal, and Pawtucket still faces other concerning economic development issues, during our conversation that you will hear in a matter of moments, Mayor Grebien presented an optimistic, if not excited perspective, sharing ideas that hinted that Pawtucket may well be positioning itself to be once again be a city of innovation, in areas ranging from housing, healthcare infrastructure, business relations and community development approaches. It was always clear to me that Don Grebien loved his City, and hearing his backstory only further cemented that notion to me.

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