Teenage heroes holding their teachers accountable. Brawls on Block Island. Politics. The weather. A massive stockpile of guns in Burrillville. A crumbling Cliff Walk. Food and Dining in Rhode Island. Captain Cook’s lost ship. In-depth reporting on homelessness, assaults by police, and more.
We took a look at the most-popular Rhode Island stories published in 2022, and here are the ones that our readers think stood out.
The middle school boys thought their teacher was a “creep.” So they tracked how he treated the girls.
Globe reporter Amanda Milkovits has covered crime in Rhode Island for years, but as she investigated misconduct by teachers and coaches in North Kingstown, R.I., this story stood out: A small group of boys at Davisville Middle School thought their teacher was a creep to the pre-teen girls in their class. They saw him leering at some girls, singling them out with pet nicknames, encouraging them to dance for him. They saw him treating boys with contempt, and sometimes cruelty.
The teacher, who was also a coach and involved with extracurricular activities, told the students that he’d weathered parents’ complaints for nearly 30 years, and there was nothing anyone could do to him.
But by seventh grade, some of the boys had started taking notes. And in an exclusive interview with The Boston Globe, one of the boys described how in January 2021, he and his friends decided to start their “Pedo Database,” to track the teacher’s words and actions. Read the story.
Australian researchers defend finding of Captain Cook’s ship in R.I.: ‘Right where we said it was’
For years, suspecting but not knowing that the shipwreck was once Captain Cook’s famous ship, the Endeavour, marine archaeologists like James Hunter would dive down to the site in Newport Harbor called RI2394. They would take photos and measurements. They would clear the muck from the hull to reveal wood so pristine you could still see the tool marks from the 18th century shipbuilders.
“Either it’s Endeavour, or we have seen a whole bunch of really crazy coincidences,” Hunter told Globe reporter Brian Amaral. “And I’ve never seen that many bits of information correspond so closely.” Read the story.
How a hard-working, middle-class family spiraled into homelessness
Globe Rhode Island reporter Alexa Gagosz and staff photographer Suzanne Kreiter spent months with Holly Barchie and Kiel Strong of Warwick, R.I., documenting how they and their four children went from living in a stable, two-income home to staying in a tent at a campground, struggling to find space in a shelter.
“I’ve never lived like this. I never thought my kids would be forced to,” Barchie said as stood in the dirt, feeding her 1-year-old by the light of her cell phone. “I use to drive down the highway and see tent cities in Providence and not think anything of it. I was blind to it.” Read the story and see the photos.
R.I. state Senator Tiara Mack faces criticism for twerking on TikTok
Globe Rhode Island Editor Lylah Alphonse wrote about a silly moment on the Fourth of July that spiraled into a viral event, garnering a progressive politician plenty of attention — both positive and negative.
When state Senator Tiara Mack decided to post a video of herself wearing a tiny yellow bikini, doing a headstand and shaking her backside on a Block Island beach, her supporters flocked to TikTok to express admiration, but the criticism on Twitter seemed to come from all across the political spectrum. Read the story.
One of Rhode Island’s top TV anchors is leaving in her prime. And she wants you to know why.
Globe columnist Dan McGowan talked with WPRI-TV anchor Danielle North about her successful local television news career, from her big break in New Hampshire to her two-decade run as one of Rhode Island’s most talented local TV anchors, and why she is stepping away away from the anchor desk in the prime of her career.
It’s not because her contract isn’t being renewed or that she had some falling out with her team. No, North is leaving because of the news. Read the story.
Block Island Ferry brawl leads to several arrests, minor injuries, and plenty of questions
A fight erupted on the Block Island Ferry in August, as the boat returned from the island, leaving several people with minor injuries and one passenger with facial injuries who needed to be transported to Rhode Island Hospital. Globe Rhode Island’s Carlos Muñoz was quick to write up the story, which kicked off a series about how crowded events, drinking, and fighting at Ballard’s Beach Resort were affecting visitors to the Rhode Island destination.
Witnesses told The Boston Globe there were more than a hundred people waiting to get on the ferries at 7:30 p.m. on Aug. 8, and many were still in line well after 9 p.m. State troopers and officers from the Narragansett, North Kingstown, and South Kingstown police departments responded to a report of a disturbance on the Block Island Ferry as it was returning to the Port of Galilee. Emergency services and law enforcement boarded the ferry, secured the vessel, and arrested individuals involved. Read the story.
Curt Schilling complains about student debt relief, Twitter immediately reminds him about 38 Studios
Twitter tossed Curt Schilling a curve ball after the conservative, retired Red Sox pitcher criticized President Joe Biden’s student-debt relief plan.
Hecklers hurled thousands of zingers at Schilling, accusing him of hypocrisy and noting that his ill-fated 38 Studios computer game venture was awarded $75 million in loan guarantees from the state of Rhode Island. The company failed spectacularly in 2012, leaving taxpayers on the hook for millions of dollars. Globe Rhode Island’s Carlos Muñoz chronicled the fallout. Read the story.
How a Taylor Swift song became an anthem for top-ranked Providence College Friars
Globe reporter Amanda Milkovits wondered how Taylor Swift’s “You Belong With Me” became the de facto anthem at Providence College men’s basketball games, so she tracked down the people who started the trend. It started when the Friars men’s basketball team were playing their arch rivals from the University of Rhode Island. Three self-described “Swifties” — all juniors and roommates at PC — sidled up to the DJ in the student section and asked him to play the 2008 pop hit. And a phenomenon was born. Read the story.
Providence off-duty police officer on paid leave after assaulting political opponent at abortion rights rally
As hundreds gathered on the plaza at the bottom of the Rhode Island State House steps on June 24 for a rally after the US Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, a man who was live-streaming the demonstration began shouting at the crowd. Globe reporter Alexa Gagosz was there when the incident escalated: Members of the crowd shouted back, and one of the demonstration’s organizers, Jennifer Rourke — a board member of The Womxn Project and candidate for a State Senate District 29 seat in Warwick — rushed over to try to defuse the situation. Moments later, she was struck in the face by off-duty Providence police officer Jeann Lugo, her Republican opponent for the District 29 Senate seat. Read the story.
Meteorologist Kelly Bates, whose departure from Channel 10 sparked outrage, lands at Channel 6
In September 2021, Globe reporter Brian Amaral wrote about how the departure of popular meteorologist Kelly Bates from WJAR sparked outrage among her fans. By June, she had landed a new job with Channel 6, and updated her story for the Globe.
“I’m the luckiest person in the world,” Bates said in an interview with The Boston Globe. “They say it’s darkest before the dawn. This is kind of proof of that.” Read the story.
After hard lessons learned from Alex and Ani, Carolyn Rafaelian comes back with Metal Alchemist
It has been 18 years since she was awarded her first patent for Alex and Ani, the iconic jewelry brand she named after her two eldest daughters, and more than two years since she was forced to step away from her own company. Still, Rafaelian said, right now she feels more grounded than she has in a long time. With her new jewelry concept and company, Metal Alchemist, which officially launched Nov. 4, she is back in control, creating American-made products and sticking firmly to her Rhode Island roots.
“The handcuffs are off. The cement blocks are not on my ankles anymore,” Rafaelian told Globe reporter Alexa Gagosz in an exclusive interview. “There’s no restrictions, no limitations, and there’s nobody and nothing in my way now. I am more focused on my art than I have ever been.” Read the story.
‘Scared for their life’: Ohio couple says R.I. congressional candidate Michael Neary followed and menaced them for miles
By the time Harold and Candy Poland reached the police station in Troy, Ohio, they were so upset that Candy could barely speak.
“It should be noted, Candy was petrified,” the police report says, “stating Harold would need to explain what happened because she could not talk.”
The Ohio couple told authorities they were “scared for their life” because they had been followed from the Columbus Airport — for about 70 miles — by a silver car that had tailgated them, speeding up when they sped up, slowing down when they slowed down, flashing its lights, and at one point pulling alongside them into the oncoming lane of traffic, according to incident reports the Globe requested from the Miami County (Ohio) Sheriff’s Office. Globe reporter Edward Fitzpatrick obtained the police reports and tracked down the story. Read the story.
‘Worst teacher I ever had’: Former Davisville Middle School student speaks out against former teacher
A few days after the Globe’s exclusive story about the teenage boys who’d tracked the teacher at Davisville Middle School who they thought was a creep with their female classmates, a young woman came forward, telling the Globe she had the same teacher at the same school in North Kingstown, R.I., years earlier. She told Globe reporter Amanda Milkovits that he was “the worst teacher I have ever had.” Read the story.
Warwick woman who recruited a Tinder kickball team is banned from the dating app for life
Swiping right on everyone helped Gianna Pecchia build a real-life community where some people even found love. But Tinder says Pecchia, 30, violated its Terms of Service and Community Guidelines by using the dating app to recruit 46 players for Clubwaka kickball teams in Pawtucket.
“There would be one of three responses,” Pecchia told Globe Rhode Island’s Carlos Muñoz. “It would either be people messaging me right away saying that they want to play kickball or they think that would be so cool but they’re not good. (or) It would be people who said, ‘Kickball, I haven’t played that since elementary school.’” The third response would come from Tinder users, she said. “They would think it was a sexual thing of kicking them in the balls. I would clarify that that’s not the case and that it’s a real league.” Read the story.
R.I. bill would impose fines and double the taxes of those who refuse COVID-19 vaccine
Though the pandemic restrictions eased in 2022, Globe reporter Edward Fitzpatrick found that there were some lingering effects in the legislature: Rhode Islanders who don’t get the COVID-19 vaccine would face $50 monthly fines and have to pay twice what they’d otherwise owe in personal income taxes, under a state Senate bill.
Senator Samuel W. Bell, a progressive Providence Democrat, proposed the legislation, which drew sharp and, in some cases, vulgar criticism on Twitter. And it prompted Senator Jessica de la Cruz, a North Smithfield Republican, to organize an email campaign opposing the measure. Read the story.
One man, more than 200 guns, and a neighborhood on edge
The neighbors had complained to the police several times about Ronald Armand Andruchuk shooting at all hours since he’d moved to the house at 1746 Tarkiln Road in Burrillville. His bullets whizzed into their trees. They’d found rounds on their property, as well as a neighbor’s. But the shooting didn’t stop. He didn’t respond to police when they tried to contact him, even when they could tell he was home.
When the police finally went to arrest Andruchuk in February, he greeted them at the door wearing tactical gear, armed with four handguns and a combat knife, and appeared to be under the influence of drugs. Police found methamphetamine in a cargo pouch on his belt, along with ammunition. Inside the house, police found drugs and an unsecured arsenal of guns both inside and outside the house. Globe reporter Amanda Milkovits has followed the story all year, but here is where it all began. Read the story.
A violent arrest in Newport, R.I., where police also shoved and punched bystanders, was widely shared on social media
A 24-second video shared with the Globe in June captured a scene on Thames Street in Newport, soon after the bars there closed. It shows two officers pressing a young man up against a Newport Trolley, while other young people mill behind them. One bystander appears to reach to touch one of the officers; a third officer grabs the bystander and shoves him and another woman away, slamming into another young man who hits a light pole face-first and falls into the street. That officer returns to the arrest, and as a young man walks by and stops, the officer turns and strikes him in the face, knocking him to the ground. Amanda Milkovits reported the story and the police investigation. Read the story.
Rhode Island’s ‘Conjuring’ house sold, with one stipulation: No one can live there year-round
In 2020, Globe reporter Amanda Milkovits stayed overnight at the Conjuring House in Burrillville, R.I., and lived to tell the tale. In 2022, the owners put the house that inspired the horror movie on the market, and it sold for a whopping $1.525 million — well above the $1.2 million asking price.
“I came to visit and thought, ‘I have to have this house,’” Jacqueline Nuñez said in an interview with the Globe. “This purchase is personal for me. It’s not a real estate development. It’s around my own beliefs.”
However, one of the conditions that the previous owners set was that the new owner not live in the house year-round, “because the energy is so powerful,” Nuñez told the Globe later. “They put it in there as protection for the buyer.” Read the story.
What’s the wealthiest town in Rhode Island? See census data on income in the Ocean State.
Rhode Island has the 15th highest median income in the United States, at $70,305, according to census data released earlier this year.
But Globe reporter Edward Fitzpatrick took a closer look and found big income gaps within the tiny state, with median household incomes of more than $125,000 in suburban towns such as Barrington and East Greenwich and less than $35,000 in the city of Central Falls, according to the American Community Survey five-year estimates. Read the story.
A tweet draws attention to a lawsuit accusing CVS of fund-raising fraud at checkout. CVS has filed a motion to dismiss the suit.
Hundreds of people expressed outrage in early December after a Twitter user shared information related to a lawsuit that accuses CVS Health Corporation of fraud.
In May, a New York resident filed a class-action complaint, accusing CVS of deceptive fund-raising in a campaign it held for the American Diabetes Association. Prior to each customer’s transaction, a checkout screen prompts the customer with several options for pre-selected dollar amounts, as well as an opt-out option, allowing donations to the diabetes association. Yet, the plaintiff alleges, CVS did not forward donations to the diabetes association, but instead applied the donations toward a legally binding $10 million obligation CVS made to the diabetes association. Globe reporter Alexa Gagosz explained what it all means. Read the story.
The R.I. con artist who faked his own death is finally getting his wish: He’s newsworthy now
All Nicholas Alahverdian ever wanted was to be newsworthy, Globe columnist Dan McGowan recalled.
Alahverdian pursued that dream relentlessly over most of the last two decades, building relationships with reporters and politicians in Rhode Island by sharing tales of torture that he said he endured as a kid lost in the child welfare system. His stories always grabbed attention. Journalists on deadline turned to him for quotes about work as an advocate, lawmakers took credit for introducing bills to reform the system, and Alahverdian was always willing to talk on the record.
So when a woman claiming to be his wife sent an email to every news outlet in the state announcing that he had died of cancer in February 2020, the story wrote itself: A local advocate whom everyone in the local media knew was gone too soon. Except, law enforcement officials say, Alahverdian was not just a relentless local advocate. He was a con artist on the run from authorities in multiple states. He was notorious for inflating his resume. And it turned out, he was not dead. Read the story.
Former Woonsocket mayor found dead in her home, officials confirm
Former mayor Susan Menard was found dead in her home in the city, state health officials confirmed in September. “Everybody is heartbroken,” Jim Pilavin, who was married to Menard’s daughter, Carrie Pilavin, told Globe reporter Brian Amaral.
Part of Newport’s Cliff Walk fell into the ocean
A chunk of Newport’s beloved Cliff Walk collapsed in March, falling into the ocean. No injuries were reported, but an approximately 20-foot piece of the Cliff Walk experienced a “significant landslide and partial collapse in the vicinity between 40 Steps and Webster Avenue,” according to the city. Because of the damage, which tore up a section of the paved path where pedestrians typically walk, the Cliff Walk will be closed from Narragansett to Webster Avenue “for the foreseeable future.”
The place where the piece broke off “was ironically not one of the areas of concerns,” Tom Shevlin, a city spokesman, told Globe reporter Alexa Gagosz. “It’s a natural bluff that is well protected from surf and the intense ocean effects that you typically expect from a coastal walkway.” Read the story.
From missing China’s cuisine to owning the No. 1 restaurant in New England
Globe Rhode Island launched a new food and dining section in 2022, and Alexa Gagosz’ weekly newsletter and original reporting quickly became must-reads for industry experts and foodies alike. In October, she talked to the owner of Jayd Bun, which ranked first place on Yelp’s “Best 100 Places to Eat in New England” list.
“She didn’t have a choice but to become a home chef,” Annie Parisi’s husband, Joe Parisi, told the Globe. The couple realized there was a hole in southern New England’s food scene, and wanted to open a restaurant of their own. Annie Parisi went back to Tianjin for a month to take classes on how to make hand-pulled noodles and buns. And in the fall of 2019, they opened Jayd Bun in South Kingstown, R.I. Read the story.