Rhode Island

Chuck Hinman / RIPR

This month we bring you a special, Thanksgiving Rhode Island  Artscape. We take look at the art and the history of the Thanksgiving menu, and how it’s changed

John Bender / RIPR

As families across the state prepare to put their Thanksgiving turkeys in the oven for a long roasting, some may wonder, just where that fowl came from. Rhode Island Public Radio’s John Bender visited one poultry farm in West Greenwich to find out more about raising these traditional birds. 


Governor Gina Raimondo is using the words “Christmas tree” in connection with a holiday celebration at the State House. That’s in contrast to the initial approach used by former governor Lincoln Chafee.

In Governor Chafee’s first year in office, in 2011, he called the tree in the State House rotunda a “holiday tree.” Chafee maintained his approach was in keeping with tradition, but critics said the governor was stepping on the spirit of the holiday.

Elisabeth Harrison / RIPR FILE

Rhode Island is joining a national effort to increase reading proficiency in elementary school. New state and national test scores show major achievement gaps.

According to the new PARCC standardized test, and another known as the Nation’s Report card, low-income fourth graders are about half as likely to be reading at grade level as their peers.

The new initiative, spearheaded by the education advocacy non-profit RI Kids Count and the United Way of Rhode Island, hopes to close that gap, by the third grade.

House Speaker Nicholas Mattiello has signed a subpoena calling on Curt Schilling to appear for a December 15th meeting of the House Oversight Committee.

As we near Thanksgiving Day, it is, of course, a time to give thanks for good friends and food, for the time to take stock of the things that matter. Rhode Island Public Radio commentator Bob Kerr likes to make a list of things he’s thankful for. He finds it’s a healthy exercise, and the good things come into sharper focus each year.

Bob Kerr began the tradition of a Thanksgiving list during his long tenure as a newspaper columnist. You can find more of his musings about life and Rhode Island at our website, ripr.org.

The state is distributing some $4.5 million dollars for job training programs around the state. The money will be split among 26 groups.

The winning groups include Rhode Island businesses and non-profits across sectors from finance to defense. North Kingstown-based submarine builder Electric Boat received the largest grant of almost $370,000.

Electric Boat training manager Craig Sipe said the company will use the grant to expand training programs.

The 2015 Status Report on Hunger in the Ocean State is out Monday from the Rhode Island Community Food Bank. The rate of food insecurity in Rhode Island has declined slightly since the peak following the recession, but thousands of Rhode Island families continue to struggle to meet basic food needs.

Food Bank CEO Andrew Schiff said the state’s sluggish economic recovery has had little impact on those most in need.

Elisabeth Harrison / RIPR

A group of parents wants Rhode Island to require recess as part of the school day. The parents are organizing to make their case at a public hearing scheduled for Monday.

African cuisine will be on display in Pawtucket Saturday. The African Alliance of Rhode Island plans to present a public cooking demonstration.

The group maintains a network of community gardens, dedicated to native produce from Africa. These are fruits and vegetables you won’t find at the local grocery store, like special varieties of hot peppers and a small, round vegetable called the African Garden Egg.

Alliance President Julius Kolawole said it makes a flavorful sauce.

Courtesy Gamm Theatre

Confrontations between white police officers and people of color may be the main public conflict in the United States these days. At the Gamm Theatre, a play called “The Rant” looks into the issue, and goes on to possibly even deeper questions. Rhode Island Public Radio’s Bill Gale has the review.

“The Rant” continues through December 13th at the Gamm Theatre in Pawtucket. Bill Gale reviews the performing arts for Rhode Island Public Radio.

John Bender / RIPR

Governor Gina Raimondo now says she will welcome Syrian refugees, if the Obama administration asks her to. The statement came after competing rallies at the Statehouse as public debate over the issue continues.

John Bender / RIPR

Two new firms will be taking over the management of the state’s $7 billion CollegeBound fund. The fund was created in 1998 to help Rhode Islanders save money for college.

State Treasurer Seth Magaziner led the move to change management of the CollegeBound fund. He saidparticipants will benefit from the hiring of the highly rated investment company Invesco and Ascensus, the nation’s biggest administrator of so-called 529 college savings programs.

James Baumgartner / RIPR

The Providence City Council finance committee voted to approve a proposed downtown hotel Tuesday night. The project was proposed earlier this year, but movement on the issue was slow.

A local developer wants to build a nine-story hotel on the site of a now-vacant government building. The project was proposed this summer, but the city’s finance committee did not vote on it for several months. Local construction workers felt opposition by a hotel workers union seemed to be stalling the project.

Elisabeth Harrison / RIPR

Test scores are due out this week for Rhode Island public school students who took the PARCC, a new standardized test linked to the Common Core standards for math and English. Rhode Island is part of a group of states that piloted the test last year.

Earlier this year millions of students took PARCC for real in about a dozen states. Roughly 75,000 students in Rhode Island took the test from 3rd grade to high school. Their scores will be the first glimpse at how the new test is working, and how Rhode Island compares to other states.