Lincoln Chafee

Ken Block and Cranston Mayor Allan Fung  clashed in their second debate within 24 hours this afternoon, a meeting that produced more heat than enlightenment and revealed few major policy differences between the two candidates vying for the Republican gubernatorial nomination in the September 9 primary.

John Bender / RIPR

T.F. Green airport in Warwick is going international.

The airoport is partnering with the German Airline Condor to offer fights to and from Frankfurt.  This is the first intercontinental flight ever offered at the Warwick Airport.

Flights will be two days a week starting in 2015.  For the first year it will be a seasonal service, starting in June and lasting through about September.

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U.S. Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel is scheduled to be in Rhode Island Wednesday.  He’ll be speaking at an event at the U.S. Naval War College in Newport.

Hagel will also speak on defense technology and industry at the ‘Defense Innovation Days’.  This conference brings lawmakers and defense industry reps together to discuss changes and trends in the industry.  Rhode Island has long relied on the defense industry for jobs, currently, with several government contracts manufacturing submarines. 

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

This week news director Catherine Welch and Mark talk with Rhode Island Public Radio political analyst Scott MacKay. They discuss what Gov. Lincoln Chafee has hit and missed to boost the state’s economy and what the next governor will need to do to lift the state out of its economic doldrums.

When to Listen

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

Aaron Read / RIPR

Rhode Island’s unemployment rate has inched down again, from 7.9 percent in June to 7.7 percent in July, according to data released today by the R.I. Department of Labor and Training.

The 7.7 percent rate is the lowest level since June, 2008, according to figures compiled by the DLT.

The number of Rhode Island based jobs increased by 1,200 from June 2014 and 5,600 since June 2013.

The estimates for nonfarm payroll in the Ocean State was 477,800 in July, the highest number since September 2008.

In December, 1991 Bill Clinton swooped into Providence for a University Club fund-raiser for his nascent presidential campaign. He arrived at Green Airport in a small  private plane and was met by former Providence Mayor Joseph Paolino, Suzanne Magaziner and her young son.

As Clinton got off the plane, he reached out and patted the young boy on the head. ``Hey Seth, how areyah?, said the Arkansas governor in the drawl that would become known around the world after his 1992 election as president.

John Bender / RIPR

A new program is launching to make it easier for first time homebuyers in the Ocean state. The program offers up to two-thousand dollars a year in tax credits for the life of a mortgage to eligible individuals.

The program is run through a partnership between the non-profit Rhode Island Housing, and various mortgage lenders. So far 41 people have applied for the program.  Governor Lincoln Chafee says it will help Rhode Island on the road to economic recovery.

The federal government has not asked Rhode Island to shelter some of the migrant children entering the country by the thousands from Central America.  More than 100 are already living in the state.

There are currently 119 kids in Rhode Island.  That’s according to data from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. These children were not moved here by the federal government, but placed with sponsors, who are family or friends already living in the U.S. The placement has been happening since January. It’s unclear how long the children will be staying.

Rhode Island  Superior Court Judge Michael Silverstein has upheld an initial legal settlement in Gov. Lincoln Chafee’s 38 Studios lawsuit over the $75 million state loan guarantee granted to the failed video game company started by Curt Schilling, the former  Boston Red Sox pitcher.

In an opinion released this afternoon, Silverstein approved a $4.4 million settlement reached with the Providence law firm of Moses, Alfonso and Ryan, a firm that advised the state on bonds of the ill-fated loan program.

Hockey fans of the Boston Bruins will be able to show their allegiance on their Rhode Island license plates under legislation approved by the General Assembly and signed into law by Gov. Lincoln Chafee.

Under the law, the new Bruins plates will cost hockey devotees an extra $40, half of which will go to the state and half will be allocated to charities affiliated with the Boston Bruins Foundation. The money must be spent on Rhode Island-based charities.

Calamari Becomes The Ocean State's Official Appetizer

Jun 28, 2014
Ambar Espinoza / RIPR

Calamari is now Rhode Island’s official state appetizer. At the signing ceremony, Governor Lincoln Chaffee said this bill is an important way to support Rhode Island’s fishing industry, despite the pushback he got for it.

Chafee said fishermen frequently told him, “We want our calamari bill!”

“And I said to myself, you know [despite] all the cynicism about, ‘Why  are you doing this with an appetizer when there are so many more important things to do?’ I went back to Rep. McNamara and Sen. Sosnowski and I said, ‘Let’s get that calamari bill. The fisherman want it!’”


The governor's name is misspelled on a new plaque celebrating Newport's historic Cliff Walk.  The plaque was unveiled during a ceremony Wednesday marking the reopening of the Cliff Walk after major repairs.

The walk’s three and a half miles have been opening in increments ever since it was damaged by Superstorm Sandy in 2012. The largest portion, two miles long, has now reopened. A smaller, less-traveled part will remain closed, likely reopening in mid-July. Newport received 5 million dollars in state and federal funds to make the repairs.

Clay Pell, one of three Democrats vying for his party’s nomination for governor, is urging Gov. Lincoln Chafee to sign into law three education-related measures approved by the General Assembly in the waning hours of the 2014 legislative session.

The first would place a moratorium on the use of high-stakes tests as a graduation requirement. The other would change teacher evaluations and the third would provide full funding for all-day kindergarten in Rhode Island communities.

file / RIPR

Several veteran-related bills made it through the General Assembly and are on their way to the governor’s desk. One of those bills gives disabled veterans waivers for classes at state colleges and universities.

Another bill lets honorably discharged veterans and National Guard reservists transfer skills they’ve learned during their service to fulfill requirements for trade apprenticeships.

Lawmakers also passed a resolution urging employers to give veterans who work for them time off on Veteran’s Day.

Some good news on the Wall Street front for the credit ratings of the state and the city of Providence.

Standard & Poor’s rating agency has affirmed the state’s credit rating and removed Rhode Island government from its CreditWatch list after the General Assembly voted to pay the $12 million installment on the state-backed bonds that financed the ill-fated 38 Studios video game fiasco.