Ambar Espinoza / RIPR

Welders have started to build parts for a wind energy facility off the coast of Block Island. It’s on track to be the country’s first offshore wind farm.  State leaders were on hand for the start of construction today (Monday). Rhode Island Public Radio’s environmental reporter Ambar Espinoza says they are calling it a great day for Rhode Island and the nation.

John Bender / RIPR

Governor Gina Raimondo marked her 100th day in office Thursday. Raimondo is taking part in several events to mark the occasion.


Along with two other appearances, Governor Raimondo is celebrating the 100th anniversary of two northern Rhode Island businesses, Yacht Club Soda and Navigant Credit Union.

Raimondo won election in November as the state’s first female governor. Since taking office, she’s dealt with severe winter weather and touted her proposed budget as a way to revitalize Rhode Island’s economy.

Chuck Hinman / RIPR

As part of our new series “Rising Tide,” Rhode Island Public Radio is bringing you stories of life after the Great Recession. The economy is improving, but does a rising tide lift all boats, or are some Rhode Islanders still being left behind? In this next installment, Rhode Island Public Radio’s Chuck Hinman visits a couple who started a small business, and a family, in the depths of the Great Recession.


Retired public employees are slated to vote Monday on a proposed settlement to the state pension dispute. The voting is expected to take place starting at 10 at the Twin River event center.

The retirees are just one in a series of union groups that need to approve the settlement. At least some active workers face a deadline of voting on the deal by Friday.

The process for approving or rejecting the settlement is shrouded in secrecy. That’s because a judge imposed a gag order preventing parties in the case from talking about it.

John Bender / RIPR

Eight years since the height of the national foreclosure crisis, Providence faces a plague of vacant houses, blighting neighborhoods.  Now the capital city’s new mayor is ramping up efforts to combat the issue. One home on the city's West Side is a success story; it's part of the ambitious plan to create many more in the state capital.

On a cold, sunny morning in March a massive front end loader tears into a tan, two-story home, on Marshall St. on the West Side of Providence. A group of neighbors and passersby watch from across the street.

Ian Donnis / RIPR

Governor Gina Raimondo joins Political Roundtable this week to discuss her budget proposal, efforts to reinvent Medicaid, the pension dispute and much more.

You can hear more from Governor Raimondo in our Bonus Q+A segment.

Aaron Read / RIPR

The state’s unemployment rate ticked down in January, compared to the same month a year ago.  The rate is now 6.5 percent; the state’s lowest since the start of the recession.

That’s down more than two percentage points since January of last year (when it stood at 8.6).  It’s been seven years since the state’s unemployment rate has been this low, back in February of 2008.  Despite the good news, Rhode Island’s unemployment rate remains higher than the national average, of 5.7 percent.

Business leaders are expressing concerns about Governor Gina Raimondo’s proposal to increase the minimum wage to $10.10 an hour, effective in 2016.

Laurie White, president of the Greater Providence Chamber of Commerce said she doesn't oppose the wage hike, but points out it could cause unintended consequences, especially for small businesses.

“Which would be potentially the shrinkage of hours for workers and also the potential that fewer jobs would be created,” said White.

Ambar Espinoza / RIPR

Rhode Island is among 15 states whose shellfish industry is at long-term economic risk from the effects of ocean acidification. That’s according to new study funded by the National Science Foundation.

The Gina Raimondo era in Rhode Island government starts with her inauguration as governor next Tuesday.

Ian Donnis / RIPR

House Speaker Nicholas Mattiello is poised next month to win his first full two-year term to what is considered the most powerful post in state government. The Cranston Democrat won a battle for the speakership last March following the resignation of his predecessor, Gordon Fox. Mattiello sat down in his Statehouse office this week to discuss his priorities for 2015 and a host of other issues.

Providence Business News Editor Mark Murphy joins Rhode Island Public Radio's Dave Fallon for our weekly business segment The Bottom Line.

This week, Dave and Mark talk with Cheryl Merchant, President and CEO of Hope Global in Cumberland. They discus Governor-elect Gina Raimondo’s economic summit this week: the ideas and expectations from the business community.

When to Listen

You can hear The Bottom Line each Friday at 5:50pm.

Ian Donnis / RIPR

About 80 business people and other community leaders gathered Tuesday to find ways to bolster the state economy.  Governor-elect Gina Raimondo used the event to introduce her point man on economic development.


Governor-elect Gina Raimondo is staging an economic policy summit with 80 so-called “thought leaders” Tuesday. The event is supposed to develop ideas for improving the state’s economy.

Raimondo’s transition office declined to release an advance list of the business people and other leaders invited to the event. They’ll take part in a three-hour discussion at URI’s Providence campus.  The governor-elect’s transition initially planned to close most of the meeting to the media. But the full session will now be open to reporters.

Kristin Gourlay / RIPR

The deadline to renew health insurance plans through Health Source RI is coming up on December 23rd.  The state’s health insurance exchange is holding an enrollment fair today in Warwick to help customers in person. We checked in with a few to find out how it’s going.

Warwick resident Kim Darcy was waiting her turn to speak with a health insurance counselor. Darcy plans to re-enroll. And she says she’s thankful there’s a plan she can afford after going without for many years.