This week we meet a couple who found themselves drinking water contaminated by radioactive lab waste, and a man who has to wear a hazmat suit to enter his house. We’ll also learn about the down and dirty politics of Providence, Rhode Island in the 1970s and 80s, when city leaders cozied up to the mob. Finally, immigrants to New England give us a sense of what we should be grateful for.
Radioactive Carcasses and Mold Magnates
In Hanover, New Hampshire, near Dartmouth College, there’s a macabre burial site. Lab animals and the chemicals that were used on them – were dumped by researchers in the 1960s and 70s. Now a toxic chemical – 1,4 dioxane – has shown up in the groundwater of nearby homeowners.
Rebecca Sananes has been covering the story for Vermont Public Radio, and she gets us caught up.
Brady Sullivan Properties has, to put it mildly, had a pretty bad couple of years. They’ve made the news after state and federal investigations into lead contamination and illegal dumping of asbestos.
And those are just the cases that made headlines – in recent years there have been other complaints involving Brady Sullivan projects from homeowners and others. NHPR’s Jack Rodolico investigates.
Lobsters and Mobsters
A Republican who ran on the promise of breaking up the corrupt Democratic machine in Providence in 1974, Vincent “Buddy Cianci” was a hard-working mayor. He’d stay at the office into the night fixing problems, and would even show up at a fire at two in the morning.
But in order to get elected, Cianci cut deals with the political machine, and he “made arrangements” with the local mob.
Marc Smerling and Zac Stewart-Pontier, producers of the HBO documentary series the Jinx, sat down with mobsters and bureaucrats years later to create Crimetown, a new podcast from Gimlet Media.
Crimetown’s first season chronicles the decades-long dance between Cianci, the mob empire of Raymond Patriarca, and the people of Providence. Marc and Zac talked with NEXT about feeling torn over making their audience “fall in love with gangsters,” and how Providence has changed.
Words in Transit
New England Public Radio is out with a new book– Words in Transit: Stories of Immigrants, based their oral history project by the same name. Words in Transit is stories from a diverse group of foreign-born Americans in Western Massachusetts and northern Connecticut, told in their own words.
NEXT producer Andrea Muraskin caught up with contributors Georges Annan Kingsley, from Cote D’Ivoire, Nayomi Dasanayake, from Sri Lanka, and Veronica Vaida, from Romania, at a book launch event at the Hartford Public Library.
Stay tuned for our upcoming series “Facing Change,” exploring New England’s changing identity, starting next week.
NEXT is produced at WNPR.
Host: John Dankosky
Producer: Andrea Muraskin
Executive Producer: Catie Talarski
Digital Content Manager/Editor: Heather Brandon
Contributors to this episode: Rebecca Sananes, Jack Rodilico, John Voci
Music: Todd Merrell, “New England” by Goodnight Blue Moon
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