Giannini: What’s in? What’s out this week?

Photo by Dave Amedio

Community College enrollment increases

Due to the new “two-year free college program”, the Community college of RI has seen a large increase in the number of first-time students who went on from the fall to spring semester. The college said that of first group of students enrolled in RI Promise, 83-percent have made the progress from Fall to Spring semesters.

This happens to be the first students who were eligible for two years of free college, with the condition that they are all full-time students and recent high school graduates. No doubt, the increases in the college enrollment have gone up, but now the tuition at the other higher institutions of education are have increased. And we have no way of knowing the total cost of this program or how it will effect the increasing costs of higher education in this state. I have said it before and I will say it again, all of our children deserve a good education, but let’s not hurt others who are struggling to stay in other colleges of their choice in Rhode Island!

Former First Lady Barbara Bush Dies

With dignity and grace Barbara Bush has passed this week leaving her own legacy of mother, wife, grandmother, matriarch, First Lady, literacy advocate and so many examples of being a good, strong woman. We have all enjoyed the many stories, poems and history of the Bush dynasty throughout the years, but we will remember her for her bluntness and compassion. She had a knack for saying it like it was. That’s rare these days. Our thoughts and prayers to the entire Bush family as they endure a great loss.

“Shower To Empower”

The City of Providence has started a new program “Shower to empower” this week. This program will feature a mobile unit to provide free showers, haircuts and intervention to homeless people in Providence. The House of Hope will maintain the services. Although there are many questions to be answered about how this will work, supporters think it will be a big asset to the homeless community.

I would like to see a large homeless shelter in this city to provide the help that is desperately needed. There must be an empty building in this city that can be renovated for a homeless shelter and resource center. We need a center that would provide mental health counseling, healthcare and job opportunities for the homeless. I keep thinking of the Cranston street armory and just how vital that would be as a multi-use center in this city. Here’s hoping our leaders find a better solution to the needs of the homeless, one that makes a dent.

What’s Out

Tragedy in the sky

Our hearts go out to the family of the Southwest passenger who was fatally wounded this week as a part of the engine flew off and hit her window sucking her partially out of the plane. Despite the efforts of heroic passengers, she died. The pilot and airline crew are being hailed as heroes for saving the lives of other passengers. But let’s face it: nobody feels good about this tragedy. In response, over 100 airplanes are now being inspected to see if their are defects in their engines. Please Southwest and all airlines, investigate and see how this happened. There hasn’t been an on air tragedy in over 50 years. Let’s be careful out there!

The UHIP Crisis continues

The Federal government has warned the State of RI again about the UHIP crisis. But now the State stands to lose $1 million dollars in funding. This is outrageous! How can anyone say they are working on this for over a year and a half and not come up with a solution! What a disgrace! It is so unfair that some people in this state are penalized with tickets, tolls, and cash cams while heads of state can just shake their head and say “We are working in it”. When will Rhode Islanders demand accountability?

Joanne Giannini
Joanne Giannini is a former State Representative from Providence. A freelance journalist, consultant and writer, she has previously written commentary for The Providence journal, GolocalProv and WPRO radio. Contact her at