slides: 15 Reasons Why Rhode Island is Better
Wednesday, September 18, 2013
The vast majority of Rhode Islanders think Rhode Island is on the wrong track. A Brown University/Taubman Center Poll earlier this year found that only 20% think the state is on the right track and 63% think that state is going the wrong way.
The perception and the reality have had a profound effect on the psyche of the state and even its leaders. Governor Lincoln Chafee’s decision not to seek re-election can be tied in part to the over all dissatisfaction of the voters as well as his dismal approval ratings. But too often we forget some of the elements that make Rhode Island a unique place to live, work, and play.
A New York Times article in April ranked Chafee as the Governor with the lowest approval ratings in the U.S. – a forty-point gap between approval and disapproval. “In Rhode Island, just 28 percent of residents approve of the job performance of Mr. Chafee, their Republican-turned-independent governor. The chief reason for Mr. Chafee’s troubles appears to be Rhode Island’s dismal economy. The state is tied with California for the highest unemployment rate in the nation, at 9.8 percent.”
The Economy Looks Up
Some indicators are improving and there are a series of indicators that make the future look a little better. While the 38 Studios hangover still lingers and diminishes confidence, leading companies like CVS, Hasbro, and Textron juxtapose with a group of emerging bio and tech companies like NABsys, Andera, Swipely, MoFuse and Betaspring to name a few.
The leading private foundation – Rhode Island Foundation -- has launched a campaign to try and promote RI as a good place to work and live. GoLocal’s research team looked through all the measures and studies out there -- as well as our archives -- to find 15 reasons why Rhode Island is simply better, and in some cases, the best place in the world -- or best in the U.S. or New England, and in a few cases, just better than it was doing before (which we'll take!)
Food – Providence scores in the top positions in the United States for almost all the important staples of eating, which is to say, pizza.
Pizza -- we're #2 in Travel and Leisure in the U.S.
Providence maintained its spot for another year as the #2 Best Pizza City in America in February 2013 results from Travel + Leisure Magazine's Favorite Cities poll.
Providence held onto its silver medal, according to T+L's Katrina Brown Hunt, "perhaps because, like Chicago, it offers an only-in-Providence pie: grilled pizza, where the dough is cooked on one side, then flipped before the toppings are added."
Real Estate – According to RE/Max, Rhode Island ranks as #1 in New England.
Rhode Island experienced the largest year-over-year increase in home sales in New England for the third consecutive month in August.
Rhode Island’s economy has always been heavily impacted by the strength of the real estate market. #1 for increase in sales is a good indicator for the future and a strong rebound.
The best Division 1 Men's Basketball coaches in the United States are in RI - pound for pound.
With PC's Ed Cooley recruiting class for 2012 was ranked #6 in the United States by ESPN.
URI’s Hurley was heavily recruited by Rutgers to come home to New Jersey and staying.
Mike Martin, the 1st year head coach of Brown was the darling of the Ivy League when he lead the undermanned squad further than anyone predicted, plus an upset of PC and he was named a finalist for the national Joe B. Hall Coaches award.
Tim O’Shea (see photo) provided Bryant fans with a post season bid in the first year eleigible as well as the biggest turnaround in the NCAA DI hopes in wins over the previous year.
Fans - enjoy these four as we don't know how long we may have them.
Winner of Best Ideas
Providence beat out cities across the country and more than 300 entries to capture the Bloomberg Philanthropies 2013 contest on best ideas.
The Providence entry spearheaded by Angel Taveras scored $5 million to help track and foster early childhood learning.
His first hand arguement that he went from Headstart to Harvard must have carried weight.
RI Beaches – Rhode Island offers more access to the great beaches than anywhere else in the U.S.
With 400 miles of coastline the number and range of types of beaches, resorts and water experiences are unmatched.
Some of GoLocal's favorites:
Napatree Point - It's worth getting up early and making the long (in RI terms) drive to Watch Hill to score some good parking and get onto this gorgeous beach (free admission). The farther you walk from the entry point by the famous carousel, the narrower, more peacefully remote your day will be. It's a half mile of bliss. Best for: Unspoiled beach lovers
Misquamicut Beach Yes, you read that right. For the beach purist, this densely packed beach that brings Rhode Island as close to New Jersey's shore as possible may sit at the bottom of the best beaches list, but for many, this spot is full of old-fashioned, unpretentious fun.
From its open ocean big surf, to waterslides and boardwalk attractions, to outdoor movies on the beach and summer concerts, you'll wear yourself out at Misquamicut, and be the happier for it.
At our lowest moment of self doubt, the young, wildly popular pop music star, who could live anywhere in the world, picked Rhode Island.
Her superstar status is tracked by every celebrity publication in the world. Heck, she has 34 million Twitter followers.
Her love of summer, Watch Hill and Benny's make her decision all the better.
We hope the stalkers take note of the vigilant Westerly police and stay away.
Haters may want to hate, but according to the Better Government Association we score well for governmental “Integrity. ”
In the watchdog group's recently released 2013 "Integrity Index"-- with Rhode Island taking top honors. In the "exclusive report and analysis of vital laws in all 50 states forged to fight government corruption and compel public officials to be more open and responsive to the people," the BGA took a look a four statutes -- Freedom of Information laws, open-meetings laws, whistleblower-protection laws and conflict of interest laws -- to see how each state complied, and ranked them accordingly.
Ron Wallace of Greene, RI, shocked the world in 2012 when he unveiled a pumpkin that that he grew that weighed a whopping 2,009 pounds.
This pumpkin put Rhode Island in the position of world leadership - it is the largest pumpkin grown in history.
The pumpkin was unveiled at the Topsfield Fair in Topsfield, MA.
Top Under The Radar Spot
Providence deserves the world's attention, according to a BBC list that placed Providence among the top 21 under-the-radar destinations of the world. The capital city earned a place alongside such exotic locations as the Sequoia and King’s Canyon National Park in California and Kiso Valley in Japan.
The BBC listed Providence’s prestigious univerisities and art galleries, its 18th Century architecture, and its luscious tree-lined streets as major attractions. The food and art offered by Federal Hill and Fox Point’s Italian and Portuguese communities were also highlighted.
The listing recommended visits between May and October when flickering flames light up Providence’s waterways during WaterFire.
Taking care of the elderly - Rhode Island is #1 in New England and earned #2 spot nationally.
History of Diversity
From the legacy of Roger Williams to opposition to slavery to this year's passage of gay marriage legislation, Rhode Island has been a leader or often lead the country in efforts to support and accept diversity.
This year's race for Governor may feature a woman of Italian America decent, a Chinese American, a Hispanic and a moderate - only in Rhode island.
Rhode Island's Miss USA Olivia Culpo won the title of Miss Universe last December, in front more than one billion viewers and on stage at Planet Hollywood Resort and Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Benefit Street & Mansions
Our remarkable history is a magnet to the world, however Benefit Street is too often taken for granted by Rhode Islanders. It is many times a day a cut-through street between downtown and the East Side to avoid some traffic.
The Mansions in Newport dwarf the colonial architecture of Benefit Street, but play a similar role of preserving an amazing time in U.S. history.
Both collections bring folks from around the world travel to Providence and to Newport respectively to see arguably two of the greatest collection of homes any where in the United States.
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