Cup o’ (Pro) Jo: February 21, 2011

In the odd event that the weekly Ratty menu doesn’t elicit fits of delighted glee, two Rhode Island chefs and one Providence restaurant have been listed as semifinalists in the prestigious 2011 James Beard Foundation Awards competition. Matt Jennings, executive chef and “master cheesemonger” at La Laiterie, and Champe Speidel — executive chef at Persimmons in Bristol (Speidel also owns an artisan butcher shop, for all your pig belly needs!) — are among the 20 semifinalists up for Best Chef: Northeast. Cook & Brown Public House, located on Hope Street, is contending for the Best New Restaurant award. These three food jewels — selected from more than 28,000 online entries — will be judged by restaurant critics, food and wine editors and culinary experts from across the country in the upcoming months.  Expensive? Unfortunately. Delicious? Absolutely.

Rhode Island schools are moving into the digital age. Communities from Woonsocket to Providence are investing, not in paperback books, but in iPads. The Rhode Island Association of School Principals is currently training 15 school districts on how to use the technology in classroom and office settings. Trinity Academy for the Performing Arts — a newly-opened charter school located in South Providence — has been able to afford one for each of its 34 students. At approximately $500 apiece — cheaper than an average laptop — iPads have given students instant access to the collected works of Shakespeare and allowed them to watch live broadcasts of the Egyptian Revolution.  Trinity School officials aren’t using the technology just for reading and writing and ‘rithmetic — they recently invested in a school-wide copy of “Angry Birds,” as a Christmas present.

At 4:30 p.m on Tuesday, the Rhode Island Labor Movement will rally at the State House in a show of solidarity for Wisconsin public employees. Last Wednesday, thousands of Wisconsin citizens turned out to protest legislation —introduced by newly-elected Republican governor Scott Walker — that would limit collective bargaining rights and effectively cut the take-home pay of some public employees by nearly 7 percent. According to state AFL-CIO president George Nee, the rally will act not only as a means of support, but also as a way to expose “the national Republican strategy to break up the labor movement.” Nee said that under the Rhode Island leadership of Lincoln Chafee ’75 P’14, there is “a whole different attitude from the governor’s office towards unions and collective bargaining.”

Oh, right. The ProJo wants to make sure everyone knows about the snow. Just in case you didn’t notice.

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