Rhode Island

A new poll shows that 76 percent of respondents think the state spends too little to maintain roads and bridges. A narrow majority supports Governor Gina Raimondo’s plan for improving infrastructure.

Elisabeth Harrison / RIPR

Children who know more words tend to do better in school, and that has some researchers wondering whether early language may offer a key to closing the achievement gap. That’s why Providence has launched Providence Talks, with millions of dollars from the Bloomberg Foundation. The program hopes to boost children’s vocabularies by teaching parents to be chattier with their babies and toddlers.

Data from a pilot study due out Monday shows promise. Rhode Island Public Radio’s Elisabeth Harrison went on a home visit with a Providence Talks coach, to see how the program works.

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Rhode Islanders continue to struggle with access to affordable housing. That’s according to the latest report from non-profit Housingworks RI. About half of all renters, and about a third of homeowners with mortgages spend more than a third of their incomes on housing.

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Rhode Island’s two U.S. Senators, Jack Reed and Sheldon Whitehouse are pushing to increase the national smoking age to 21. The two lawmakers joined other Congressmen introducing the legislation Wednesday.

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Three marketing firms have been chosen to develop a tourism campaign for Rhode Island. The announcement follows a months-long, national search. One of the firms is New York based Milton Glaser Inc., the agency responsible for the iconic “I Heart New York Campaign.”

In a written statement, Mr. Glaser wrote, “We’re enthusiastic about working on the Rhode Island project, because, among other things, small is beautiful.”

The other firms are HAVAS PR, a public relations firm with an office in Providence, and the Jamestown-based design group Epic Decade.

Kristin Gourlay / RIPR

Throughout October, Visiting Nurses Association of Care New England will host flu vaccine clinics in Rhode Island. As flu season approaches, the VNA will administer flu shots at six locations across the state. 

VNA nurse Paula Foster encourages all who want to be vaccinated to come; regardless of their insurance status.

“The state has allotted us a certain amount of vaccine for the uninsured," said Foster. "So nobody will be turned away, and we want to make sure that everybody that wants a flu shot is getting a flu shot.”

After being a part of efforts to reduce violence in Providence for 15 years, Teny Gross says it’s time to take on a new challenge.

Gross established and led the Institute for the Study and Practice of Nonviolence after being recruited from Boston. The organization has been credited with helping reduce bloodshed in poor city neighborhoods. Gross helped create the institute's non-violence education model, including the "street worker" program, which sends former offenders back onto the streets to mediate conflicts and help prevent violence.

Maggie Hall / Wilbury Theatre Group

Using the same theater space where Trinity Rep began more than 50 years ago, The Wilbury Group is another young theater willing to take a chance. Bill Gale says their latest work, “Dry Land,” is certainly risky.

Ah, yes, so it is. Written by Ruby Rae Spiegel when she was still an undergraduate at  Yale University, “Dry Land” rushes you into a vortex of, well, you could say a bunch of  kids being young and stupid.

RIPR FILE

A former House Finance chairman is downplaying his role in the loan program used to lure 38 Studios to Rhode Island in 2010. Steve Costantino now serves as a publicly funded health insurance program in Vermont.

John Bender / RIPR

Heavy rain may continue on and off through the end of the week, according to forecasters. The National Weather Service issued a hazardous weather outlook on Wednesday morning, when downpours caused localized flooding.

Meteorologist Bill Simpson said while the rainy weather will last through the weekend, the heaviest downpours may let up.

“This is not constant heavy rain like we’re experiencing now, but again, we’re talking about five days,” said Simpson. “Later on Thursday into Friday, and then we’ll see what happens for the weekend.”

Aaron Read / RIPR

Rhode Island and the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston are partnering on an effort to boost economically depressed parts in the state. The program is aimed at cities most affected by the loss of manufacturing jobs.

With the exception of Newport, many Rhode Island cities were hard hit by the loss of manufacturing jobs over the last few decades. And many of those cities are still struggling to recover.

Ambar Espinoza / RIPR

Some of the highest tides of the year will reach Rhode Island shores over the next few days. The Rhode Island Coastal Resources Management Council is encouraging residents to take photos of the so-called “king tides” using their new mobile app. CRMC spokesperson Laura Dwyer said the pictures could provide a glimpse into the future.

“These tides over the next few days will really best illustrate how, how things will be how things will look with sea level rise, so this is a great way for us to visualize the impact,” said Dwyer.

Elisabeth Harrison / RIPR

A year ago, Rhode Island agreed to find better opportunities for at least 2,000 people with developmental and learning disabilities. It was part of a settlement after a federal investigation uncovered a program that funneled people with disabilities into jobs doing menial labor for very little pay. 

Kristin Gourlay / RIPR

The United Nurses and Allied Professionals Union has reached a new contract deal. The three-year labor agreement with Rhode Island Hospital affects some 2000 union nurses and technicians.

Rhode Island is getting one-million dollars to help repair the Park Avenue Bridge in Cranston.The bridge was closed for several weeks this summer.

The money will also help pay for the eventual replacement of the century old bridge. The span was shut for several weeks in June after inspectors deemed it structurally deficient.

Some wondered if the closure was politically motivated. The bridge is close to House Speaker Nicholas Mattiello’s law office. The speaker didn’t push to take up a statehouse proposal for infrastructure repair last session.

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