Central Falls

Providence Diocese

The young mayor of Rhode Island's smallest city, James Diossa, will travel to Washington D.C. this week as Pope Francis arrives in the U.S. Diossa was invited to the country's capital by President Barack Obama and the First Lady. Diossa will be part of the Pope's arrival ceremony Wednesday morning.

Elisabeth Harrison

Students and teachers are returning to classrooms across Rhode Island, including Central Falls, where a new superintendent has just taken charge. 


The Environmental Protection Agency has awarded Rhode Island five grants totaling more than a million dollars to clean up contaminated properties across the state.

The money will help with the cleanup of contaminated sites in the cities of Central Falls, Pawtucket, and Providence.

John Bender / RIPR

Dr. Ken Wagner, Governor Gina Raimondo’s pick for state Education Commissioner, spent Thursday morning at Calcutt Middle School in Central Falls. It was his first site visit since his nomination’s announcement Wednesday. The students demonstrated to Wagner how to operate bottle rockets.

Wagner finishes up as New York Deputy Education commissioner Friday, and says his post in Rhode Island would begin in August.

Elisabeth Harrison / RIPR

One of Rhode Island’s most controversial school leaders is retiring. Fran Gallo, the superintendent of Central Falls public schools, steps down on Friday. Her tenure includes the firing and re-hiring of high school teachers, which thrust Rhode Island into the center of a national debate over public education. Gallo sat down with Rhode Island Public Radio’s Elisabeth Harrison at her office in Central Falls to look back on the firings, and what she’s learned from Rhode Island’s smallest school district.

The Rhode Island Supreme Court has approved disgraced former Mayor Charles Moreau’s request for legal fees dating back to his days as mayor and before he was convicted on federal corruption charges. The high court overturned a Superior Court decision that denied both Moreau and the Central Falls legal fees for their challenge to the state law that allowed the city to be put into receivership.

Rhode Island has received $1 million dollars from the Environmental Protection Agency to help clean up local brownfields; areas contaminated by toxic substances.  The money will go toward cleaning up areas in Pawtucket, Central Falls and Providence.  

Scott Mackay RIC commencement 2015
Rhode Island College

RI Public Radio political analyst Scott MacKay delivered the commencement speech at Rhode Island College Saturday, May 16th. He was granted an honorary doctorate of journalism. 

Good Morning. Most of you are from Rhode Island and Massachusetts, so you get what I mean: That by virtue of your degrees today, you are all officially "wicket smaht."

Central Falls' community health center is at capacity, officials say, in its current building. Now, Blackstone Valley Community Health Care has acquired a three-story medical building from Memorial Hospital for $720,000 at 1000 Broad St. in Central Falls.

Health center officials say they plan to move in toward the end of 2016, when $5 million dollars in renovations are complete. The new center will be able to accommodate more than 10,000 patients and will add about a dozen new clinicians.

John Bender / RIPR

This story is part of our series “Rising Tide” about how – or whether - Rhode Islanders are emerging from the deepest economic recession since the 1930s. The question we’re asking is: does a rising tide really lift all boats, or are some Rhode Islanders still being left behind?

Ian Donnis / RIPR

Lawyer, former Central Falls receiver, and former state Supreme Court justice Robert Flanders joins Political Roundtable this week to discuss the outlook on Rhode Island's pension conflict, whether gag orders are a good idea, and lessons from the fiscal crisis in Central Falls.

For more Flanders, listen to his conversation with us on Bonus Q&A.


Once again, Rhode Island politics is ensnared in a public employee pension controversy. RIPR political analyst Scott MacKay says it’s time to put this issue in our collective rear view mirror.

It’s well past time to get beyond the noisy debate over public employee pensions in Rhode Island. It’s a joust that has ensnared  the Statehouse for more than a generation. It has long pitted the business community against public employees and their union leaders, fractured relations between conservatives and liberals and led to tortuous attempts for years to shore up the system.

File/Ryan T Conaty

Since August, 2010, the Rhode Island Public Radio newsroom has been headed up by News Director Catherine Welch. Friday is Catherine’s last day. She’s leaving for a job in Orlando, Florida where she will be news director at the public radio station WMFE.

Orlando is the 33rd largest television market in the country, and WMFE is a growing station covering Orlando, Daytona Beach and the Space Coast. Catherine has family in Central Florida and is looking forward to being closer to them as well.

81 percent of the class of 2014 earned a diploma within four years, according to the latest numbers from the Rhode Island Department of Education. The state's high school graduation rate ticked up one percentage point from 2013, and was up four percentage points from 2011.

Dropout rates dropped by one percentage point to 8 percent.

New numbers out of Rhode Island Kids Count show the number of children living in poverty has grown nearly five percent since the start of the Great Recession.  Kids Count RI executive director Elizabeth Burke-Bryant sat down with Rhode Island Public Radio's Elisabeth Harrison to go over the numbers.

The latest report on child poverty in Rhode Island found in 2013 44,923 children under the age of 18 lived below the federal poverty threshold. That’s 21.5%, and higher than the rate of 15.5% in 2008.