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 Scott DePasquale, Chairman and CEO of Providence-based global software company Utilidata. The company is partnering with Siemens to put voltage regulation software made by Utilidata into power grids. They discuss how more efficient power grids mean smaller power bills and the upside to having a global company in Rhode Island.

When to Listen

Providence Extends School Year, To Make Up For Snow Days

Feb 6, 2015

Providence Public Schools have maxed out their snow days.  The district has called 5 snow days, already 2 more than they planned for.  

Spokesperson Christina O’Reilly said the district will have to extend the school year until June 25th.  “At this point we’ve assured families, and staff that February vacation is not going to be on the table,” said Reilly. 

Aaron Read / RIPR

Congressman David Cicilline introduced a bill in House of Representatives bill Tuesday to name a South Providence post office after Sister Ann Keefe. Keefe was a community activist, who passed away last month from brain cancer.

Cicilline worked with Keefe for many years. She launched at least 22 organizations, including Providence CityArts for Youth and Providence’s Institute for the Study & Practice of Nonviolence.

This I Believe Rhode Island: Providence

Feb 3, 2015

A sense of place.  Community.  Roots.  Some of us spend a lifetime trying to figure out where we’re from, who we are, where we belong.  Oliver Wendell Holmes – the poet and physician whose son became a U.S. Supreme Court Justice – once wrote, “Where we love is home, home that our feet may leave, but not our hearts.”  We hear from Ria Mirchandani about her fruitful search for a sense of home as she forges her path in life.


Ria Mirchandani is a senior at Brown University.  She was born in Nashua, New Hampshire, raised in Mumbai, India, and has come of age in Providence.

Yet Another Winter Storm Bears Down On Rhode Island

Feb 2, 2015
Catherine Welch / RIPR

More snow is hitting Rhode Island this morning.  The National Weather Service predicts about a foot could fall in the northwestern part of the state. 

Matt Doody, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service, said the rest of the state will see less of the white stuff.  “It drops off fairly quickly, so that the immediate Providence-metro area is anywhere from 6-8 inches, and then the coastline is probably only on the order of like 3-6 or so.”

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.

Catherine Welch / RIPR

Governor Gina Raimondo and Providence Mayor Jorge Elorza are getting generally high marks for their response to the blizzard earlier this week.  The state continues to dig out from the major winter storm.

John Bender / RIPR

Mama Kim’s is a well-known food truck in the Providence area specializing in Korean Barbeque.  It’s just opened its very first brick-and-mortar sit-down restaurant in Cranston.


For this month’s Rhode Island Artscape, Rhode Island public radio’s John Bender stopped by the new Cranston space to talk with owner Don Fecher about the business, the transition from the truck, and, of course, the food.


Do you have insight or expertise on this topic?  Please email us, we'd like to hear from you.

This I Believe Rhode Island: Diversity

Jan 27, 2015

What is it that draws so many of us to the Ocean State and keeps us here, even when opportunities elsewhere beckon?  In a word, community.  Somehow Rhode Island’s intimate and quirky scale, its mix of neighborhood and neighborhood characters – even with their sometimes rough edges – manage to pull us in and get ahold of us, a bit like flypaper.  For so many of us, Rhode Island’s complex richness seeps into our bones and, even with all its challenges, becomes part of who we are.  And that’s just what we hear from Karen Lee Ziner in this encore essay.

Karen Lee Ziner has lived in Providence since 1980.  She is a staff writer for The Providence Journal. A version of this essay previously appeared in the Providence Sunday Journal.

Rhode Island Starts Digging Out Of The Blizzard

Jan 26, 2015
John Bender / RIPR

Residents across the state are digging out of the blizzard that dumped more than two feet on parts of the state. Gov. Gina Raimondo lifted the state’s travel ban last night. She thanked Rhode Islanders for staying off the roads. There was a fire in Providence and a handful of accidents, but no major injuries from the storm.

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.

John Bender / RIPR

The state’s first medical marijuana vapor lounge opened this weekend in Providence, but the legality of the lounge remains murky.

Elevated Vapor Lounge, located in downtown Providence opened Saturday.  Rhode Island medical marijuana patients can utilize the space to vaporize their doctor prescribed product.  And since state law bans smoking indoors, vaporizing is only thing allowed.

Medical marijuana has been legal in the state since 2006. Federal law continues to ban its sale.

John Bender / RIPR

As many take a day off for Martin Luther King Jr. Day, some are spending the day doing service projects.  A group of students in Providence celebrates with art.

In the gym at Martin Luther King elementary school, dozens of elementary school students are screen printing t-shirts, painting murals, and jewelry painting.  It’s part of the nationwide “day of service” program.  More than 100 Rhode Island School of Design students are working with the kids on their projects. 

Funeral services for Sister Ann are scheduled for Friday, January 23rd at St. Michael the Archangel Church in Providence.

Tributes are pouring in for Sister Anne Keefe, who died Sunday. She was just 62 years old. Keefe was known for standing for the less fortunate.  She was part of the St. Michael the Archangel church in South Providecnce.  Keefe's work for social justice earned her a mention earlier this month in Governor Gina Raimondo’s inaugural address.  Providence Mayor Jorge Elorza ordered city flags to fly at half-staff after learning of her death.


Congressman David Cicilline is bringing the chair of the congressional Immigration Task Force to Rhode Island Wednesday evening to discuss the president’s executive order on immigration.  The public forum will focus on preventing residents from getting caught up in scams.

That’s been a problem since President Obama issued an executive order back in November that offers a legal reprieve to some in the country illegally and parents with children who are U.S. citizens.