Rhode Island

Elisabeth Harrison / RIPR

Rhode Island officially has a new education commissioner after a vote Monday to confirm Governor Gina Raimondo’s nominee, Ken Wagner.

So far, reaction to Wagner has been optimistic, but some teachers have expressed reservations because he lacks experience in the classroom. Rhode Island Public Radio’s Elisabeth Harrison sat down with Larry Purtill, a member of the State Board of Education and the president of the National Education Association Rhode Island, one of two teachers’ unions in the state.

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Rhode Island’s attorney general is taking no position on who owns a pair of ceremonial bells at Newport’s Touro Synagogue. The bells are the subject on an ongoing court battle.

The lawsuit centers on an ornate pair of silver bells that date to colonial times. Congregation Shearith Israel, which calls Touro Synagogue home, wants to sell the bells to Boston’s Museum of Fine Arts to raise money. But a congregation in New York is crying foul.

They claim they own the bells, and have no interest in selling.

John Bender / RIPR

Rhode Island’s Board of Education has unanimously confirmed Ken Wagner to lead the state department in charge of K-12 schools. Wagner has his work cut out for him when it comes to teachers. Many are hoping that he will reach out to them after they clashed with his predecessor. 

Susan Greenhalgh / RIPR

Salty Brine Beach in Narragansett has reopened following a blast that occurred over the weekend. The event injured a 60-year beach goer, who has thrown by the blast into a rocky jetty. The woman sustained fractured ribs, and has been released from the hospital.

State police say they’ve found no evidence of a explosive device or gas line. The agency closed the beach Saturday. Along with the state police, the fire marshal and the Department of Environmental Management also took part in investigations.

RIPR FILE

The Rhode Island Public Transit Authority holds its last series of public meetings Monday and Tuesday to discuss potential changes in fares.

RIPTA will host the listening sessions in Newport, Providence, Pawtucket and Warwick on Monday and Tuesday. RIPTA officials say this is the first comprehensive study of all the authority’s fare offerings.

RIPTA Spokesperson Barbara Polichetti said this is also an opportunity to look at possible changes in how customers obtain tickets.

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