Rhode Island

John Bender / RIPR

Ken Wagner is Governor Gina Raimondo’s nomination for education commissioner. The post has been open since former commissioner Deborah Gist left for a job in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Wagner comes to the Ocean State from the New York state education department.

Wagner got his start in education policy at age 18, when he was elected to a local school board in New York. Since then, his education career includes working as school psychologist and middle school principal. 

Ian Donnis / RIPR

Governor Gina Raimondo has signed an executive order aimed at improving the state’s criminal justice system. The governor has created a panel to review problems in the justice system.


The issues the group intends to tackle include racial disparities for prison inmates and other people who come in contact with the justice system. They’ll also look at addiction, mental health, and probation. Rhode Island had the third highest rate of people on probation in the country in 2013.

The PawSox new ownership team kicks off a listening tour, to drum up support and answer residents’ questions about a proposed new stadium.  The group plans to stop in all of Rhode Island’s 39 cities and towns. The first stop is at the Smithfield Senior Center in Greenville at 5 in the evening.

John Bender / RIPR

Rhode Island lawmakers passed legislation requiring more music performance opportunities in public schools. The bill mandates that all public secondary schools offer performing ensembles such as band, chorus or orchestra.

Most public schools in Rhode Island have performance ensembles, but some are offered before or after school and sometimes for no credit.  Advocates say the new mandate is a step towards incorporating these ensembles into standard arts curricula.

Wikimedia Commons

Former Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley visits the Ocean State Tuesday for a fundraiser in Jamestown.

The democrat will attend an event billed as a cookout at the home Liz and Michael Perik, an entrepreneur in education technology. Tickets start at $100 per person, and can cost as much as $2,700. The fundraiser starts at 6 p.m.

O’Malley stops in the Ocean State in between stumping in Iowa and nearby New Hampshire, which holds the nation’s first primary.

Chuck Hinman / RIPR

After Saturday’s 4th of July celebrations, Rhode Island’s Cape Verdean community celebrated its independence. Thousands of people gathered in India Point Park to celebrate the 40th anniversary of Cape Verdean Independence.

The festival took over India Point Park in Providence with music, food, vendors, and politicians.

1st District Congressman David Cicilline, Providence Mayor Jorge Elorza and US Senator Jack Reed all took the stage during the day to wish the crowd Happy Independence Day. 

John Bender / RIPR

Rhode Island’s former House Speaker Gordon Fox must report to federal prison this week. Fox will serve a three-year jail term scheduled to start on Tuesday.


Rhode Island is in the midst of the most dangerous tick-season of the year. University of Rhode Island researchers say there are more of the insects this year than last year. The arachnids are most prevalent in May, but URI tick specialist Tom Mather, says mid-summer carries the highest risk.

“What we face now is a dangerous period, which is when nymphal-stage deer ticks are active, and these are ticks that are the size of poppy seeds, and they are loaded with pathogens,” said Mather.

Gay rights activists are asking how to re-focus their movement now that same-sex marriage is legal across the country. Rhode Island Public Radio’s Emily Wooldridge spoke with several Ocean State residents to find out what they think. 

She filed this audio postcard with the voices of Newport native Rodney Davis and his partner Brian Mills, Anthony Masselli and Providence Wendy Becker and her 12-year-old son.


The newest mayoral charter school set to open in Rhode Island has picked a location in downtown Woonsocket. 

  RISE Prep will start with a kindergarten class this fall and grow to include a middle school. This will be the first charter elementary school in Woonsocket.

Steven Richard / Theatre by the Sea

When “My Fair Lady” debuted on Broadway in 1956 it was an immediate classic. The “perfect musical” one review said. But how does this oft-repeated winner look today, almost 60 years later? Bill Gale says the version now at Theater by the Sea lets you know why “My Fair Lady” is still singing.

Ryan von Linden / flickr/New York Department of Environmental Conservation

Rhode Island researchers have received $500,000 in federal grant money to investigate a fungus that’s killing native bats. The mysterious illness has attacked bats across North America.

Over the last decade, biologists believe an illness known as white-nose syndrome has killed some six-million bats in North America. The fungus appears on the bat’s muzzle. It targets hibernating bats, causing serious infections on their wings, and bodies.

Ian Donnis / RIPR

Buddy Cianci withdrew more than $200,000 in contributions and interest from his Providence pension fund last November. The move means Cianci will forgo his city pension.

Cianci took roughly $209,000 in contributions and interest out of his retirement account last November. The move came shortly after he lost his attempt to return to City Hall to Democrat Jorge Elorza. Cianci has repeatedly said he would not apply for a Providence pension.


Governor Gina Raimondo plans to sign the budget Tuesday for the state’s next fiscal year. The spending plan includes two of the governor’s top priorities.

Governor Raimondo says the budget will help put people back to work, fix schools, and make it easier to do business in Rhode Island. The spending plan includes money for economic incentives meant to spark job growth, and it also cuts spending on the Medcaid subsidizied healthcare program for the poor.

Elisabeth Harrison / RIPR

Charter schools dodged a bullet, this month when Rhode Island lawmakers ended the legislative session without agreement between House and Senate bills that could have changed the way charter schools are funded and restricted their ability to grow. 

Rhode Island Public Radio’s Elisabeth Harrison asked Tim Groves, the head of the Rhode Island League of Charter Schools, whether he thinks public opinion is turning against charter schools.