All Articles Tagged "Rhode Island"

Knowing When To Walk Away: Woman Attacks News Crew But Was She The Only One In The Wrong?

June 6th, 2013 - By Veronica Wells
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Source: ABC 6

Source: ABC 6

Sometimes you’ve got to know when to leave well enough alone. But apparently, Rhode Island journalists for ABC 6 didn’t know or didn’t realize it was time to go.

Reporter Abbey Niezgoda and her photographer Marc Jackson were on assignment in Providence, Rhode Island attempting to interview Melissa Lawrence, the mother of a 16 year old girl who was shot at a graduation party.

The crew stood on the sidewalk, right outside of Lawrence’s house and allegedly asked if they could interview her. They claim she said “OK, that’s good.” But everything wasn’t good, actually, as Lawrence ended up throwing a rock at the photographer, threatening them both with a bat, sic-ing her dogs on Niezgoda and cussing them out.

There’s video of the exchange below.

Luckily, Lawrence’s daughter has been released from the hospital and is recovering from the gunshot wound to her lower back.

The video, on the other hand, was uploaded to YouTube yesterday and at this point has received over 150,000 views. And later in the day, ABC 6 reported that Lawrence was arrested and charged with two counts of felony assault with a dangerous weapon. She was released from jail on a $50,000 personal recognizance but could forfeit her bail if she gets in trouble again. When Animal Control was sent to her house, looking for the dogs they were nowhere to be found. If they discover that she’s hiding them, she could face additional charges.

Something about all of this rubs me the wrong way. It all seems so exploitative. These reporters must have known that they were approaching a very delicate situation. We can assume that this woman was troubled worrying about the nature of her daughter’s injuries. It would seem that ethical journalism and good human decency would recognize the signs of a woman who is in no condition to talk to the media.  While you can hear Lawrence say something that sounds like “OK, that’s good,” at the very beginning of the video, it’s really unclear as to whether she’s talking to the reporters, to the other people standing around her, to her dogs or about something else entirely. Even if Lawrence did agree to do the interview, the moment she started lobbing rocks, should have been the moment Niezgoda and Jackson turned around and headed back to the station…without the interview.

The exchange and the way they kept attempting to question Lawrence, a woman who clearly wasn’t going to cooperate, is odd to say the least. Basic principles of human survival dictate that if someone is attempting to attack you with rocks and a baseball bat, it would be in your best interest to leave before you sustain physical injury. But maybe these two just wanted “the story.”

Which brings me to my second point. What, exactly, is the story? Niezgoda and Jackson went there to interview Lawrence about her daughter being shot in the back at a graduation party. And when they realized it wasn’t going to happen, probably shortly after she threw that rock, they stayed. Asking her questions about why she was attacking them. I can’t be sure, but their lingering and ABC 6’s subsequent decision to air this non news story seems like the latest installment of “let’s interview an animated black person and get millions of YouTube hits.” You went to get a story, for whatever reason, you failed; but instead of running the story without the interview, or killing it altogether, you shift the focus from a teenager being shot at what was supposed to be a joyous occasion, to discussing how a woman and her dogs attacked you when you were just “doing your job.”

Should Lawrence have thrown rocks and sent her dogs to bite Niezgoda and her photographer? Of course not. But Niezgoda and Jackson should have known to respect this woman’s feelings and obvious requests for them to leave in what was, and probably still is, a confusing, anger-inducing, hurtful and frightening time in her life.

What do you make of this video? Should Lawrence be sentenced to jail time? Were the reporters, Niezgoda and Jackson, also in the wrong?

81-Year-Old Woman Wins $336 Million in Powerball Lotto

March 6th, 2012 - By Brande Victorian
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Source: ABC

I wish I was Louise White’s granddaughter right now. The 81-year-old Rhode Island resident just became the winner of the third largest Powerball Prize in the history of the game: $336 million.

Considering Louise is already up in years, she opted to take a lump sum of money, which reduces her winnings to $210 million. Another $52.5 million will come out in federal taxes and $14.7 million for the state, which still leaves her an amount of money most people will never see in their lifetime. Louise has already got in touch with the proper financial council and set up a fund to place her winnings in too—the Rainbow Sherbert Trust, named after the dessert that she purchased last month while buying the lottery ticket.

Louise was slow to check whether she was the winner of the enormous Powerball when the winning numbers were announced Feb. 11. Although she listened to the news and copied down the winning numbers that evening, she didn’t check her tickets until much later. When she realized she had the matching numbers, she yelled, “Is anybody awake? I want you to come look at something.”

She wrote in a statement that was handed out at a news conference that she and her family were in disbelief and checked the lottery website multiple times, restarted the computer, and checked it again.

“We hugged each other and jumped up and down screaming!!,” she wrote. “Then I was told to ‘Sign it quick!!'”

Louise kept the ticket in her Bible, which she slept with, until she was able to put the ticket in a safe deposit box in the bank. Money in hand, now the family has the “difficult” job of deciding how to spend it.

“We’re excited, very blessed and will determine in the coming months how we’ll spend the money,” Louise wrote, “but we know we’ll always have rainbow sherbert.”

Good for her.

Do you play the lottery? What’s the most you’ve ever won?

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Brande Victorian is a blogger and culture writer in New York City. Follower her on Twitter at @be_vic.

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No Hard Feelings, Right? Meryl Streep Gives $10,000 Donation in Viola Davis’s Honor

February 28th, 2012 - By Victoria Uwumarogie
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That darn Meryl! She makes it so hard not to love her even though I really wanted Viola Davis to win on Sunday. According to Reuters, the morning after the Academy Awards in which Streep took home the award for Best Actress for her work in The Iron Lady, beating out Davis for her work in The Help, the winning actress decided to write a check of $10,000 to a struggling Rhode Island school in honor of her friend. Davis grew up in Central Fall, Rhode Island and was working to help the bankrupt town get back on its feet. Knowing Davis’ efforts to help her community get up and running again, Streep’s check arrived the Segue Institute for Learning on Monday morning, a school in the area facing closure. According to Reuters, the school is ecstatic about the donation:

“We’ve just been screaming from the rooftops,” said Angelo Garcia, founder and director of operations at the school. “We’re excited Meryl Streep has gotten the ball rolling for us, but we recognize there’s a long road ahead of us,” he said.

The money she sent will hopefully be used to help renovate the school and it’s accompanying community center. Allegedly Davis had discussed the school with Streep in the past, and the legendary actress wanted to have her charity, Silver Mountain Foundation for the Arts, send a check and help out.

Who knows if this was something Streep already planned for her good friend (the two worked together and became homeskillets while filming Doubt), or if she felt a certain way about winning the Oscar over Davis and wanted to show love. Can’t question a person’s reasons for giving, because either way, something wonderful and charitable came out of it! Nice.

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Voter ID Law Pits Minorities Against Each Other

July 12th, 2011 - By TheEditor
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(Providence Journal) — When a voter ID bill passed in Rhode Island last week, longtime opponents were stunned. How could this happen in one of the country’s most Democratic and liberal states? Why did Democratic leaders and black legislators support it? And why did Governor Chafee sign it?  Some say black politicians were trying to protect themselves from Hispanics’ growing political power — two longtime black legislators were defeated by Hispanics in the 2010 elections. Some cite illegal immigration as a driving force. Some say voter ID is simply essential.  Whatever the reason, people are still seething a week later. That includes many within the minority community, who chide Chafee for saying he was compelled by concerns from the “minority community” about voter fraud.

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Black Fathers Take Stand For Education

June 14th, 2010 - By TheEditor
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(Rhode Island News) — His activism began with the closing of a beloved neighborhood school on the West Side. It has morphed into a grass-roots effort to address the plight of the black child in the Providence schools. Osiris Harrell, an outspoken activist at School Board meetings, has organized a new group of black fathers who are determined to change how their children are treated in the school system so that their stories are of success, not failure.

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