scott mackay

Aaron Read / RIPR

Another month, another poor jobs report in Rhode Island. The September unemployment rate remained at 5.6 percent, but Rhode Island-based jobs were down 900 from August, according to data released today by the state Department of Labor and Training.

The data show job losses in educational services, health care and social assistance, ambulatory health care services and government and professional services.  There were also smaller job declines in manufacturing, information and transportation and utilities.


Rhode Island voters support all five spending bond issues on the November general election ballot but do not think the state is headed in the right direction, according to results of a public opinion survey conducted by the Hassenfeld  Institute for Public Leadership at Bryant University.

The poll, done by Fleming and Associates, sampled 400 state voters by telephone between October 6th and 10th. It carries an error margin of about 5 percent and included 52 percent landlines and 48 percent mobile phones.

Ian Donnis / RIPR

Rhode Island House Majority Leader John DeSimone, D-Providence, who was narrowly defeated in the September primary, is announcing tomorrow that he is mounting a November general election write-in challenge to the political newcomer who defeated him in the primary, Marcia Ranglin-Vassell.

Policy & Pinot: The November 2016 Election

Oct 7, 2016
Aaron Read / RIPR

How is the presidential election resonating with Rhode Islanders? What are the big local races? Our guests are Republican House Minority Leader Brian Newberry and Democratic campaign operative Kate Coyne-McKoy, along with RIPR Political Analyst Scott MacKay and our intrepid moderator, RIPR Political Reporter Ian Donnis.

Major Thomas Verdi, a 29-year veteran of the Providence police department, has been named deputy chief by Col. Hugh Clements, police chief.

Verdi takes the post vacated by former Deputy Chief Thomas Oates, who has become police chief in Woonsocket.

Verdi has recently served as commanding officer of the uniform division. He has also been executive officer of the administrative division and has many years  experience as a detective, an organized crime investigator, in the patrol bureau and in SWAT operations.

Courtesy of the Shelton family

Henry Shelton, a Roman Catholic priest turned social justice and political activist, longtime voice in Rhode Island for those who had none, passionate advocate for the poor and dispossessed  and thorn in the side of the state’s business and political establishment, died Wednesday at home in Cranston surrounded by his family. He was 86.

  In bad news for the Rhode Island economy, the unemployment rate inched up to 5.6 percent in August  from 5.5 percent in July and the Ocean State-based jobs dropped by 700, according to data released today by the R.I. Department of Labor and Training.

The state jobless rate was higher than the national unemployment rate, which stood at 4.9 percent. The DLT also said the data shows that the July job losses, the state has about 5,800 more jobs than at this time last year.

John Bender / RIPR

A Providence police investigation of the August 24th accident in which a Peter Pan bus driver hit and killed a Cumberland woman in Kennedy Plaza has resulted in no criminal charges against driver Matthew Reidy of Taunton, Mass.

Michelle Cagnon, 30, of Cumberland was struck by a bus operated by Reidy as she was walking on Washington St. in Kennedy Plaza.  She died as a result of the accident and was pronounced dead at the scene. The decision against criminal charges came after what police called “an extensive” investigation and reconstruction of the events that led to her death.

Sophie Kasakove

Jim Vincent, president of the Providence NAACP, has called on Gov. Gina Raimondo to begin a formal national search for a new state police superintendent to replace Col. Steven O’Donnell, who is retiring after more than five years on the job.

Vincent said a national search is necessary because the top brass of the state police currently lacks any women or minorities in a position to apply for the job.  "We need a national search so that Rhode Island can get the best possible superintendent.’’

First Southwest Company, one of the financial institutions involved in the ill-fated 38 Studios deal, is objecting to the state’s recent settlement agreement with two other banks in the ongoing lawsuit against actors in the video game fiasco.

Lawyers for First Southwest filed a memorandum in Rhode Island Superior Court objecting to the settlement with Barclays Capital and Wells Fargo Securities, which, if approved by the court, would yield just under $26 million in payments to the state.

Elisabeth Harrison / RIPR

  James Doyle, the popular, longest serving mayor of Pawtucket and a fixture in the city’s political leadership for generations, died Friday night. He was 78.

And old-school politician universally known as `Jim’ who climbed the city’s Democratic political ladder, Doyle served for six terms as mayor, until the end of 2010, when Don Grebien won election.

A social studies teacher at Pawtucket West High School, now Shea High School, Doyle was active in Democratic politics. He was first elected to the city council in 1970 and was reelected 13 times.

Aaron Read / RIPR

  Rhode Island’s unemployment rate held steady in July as the state’s economy added about 1,400 jobs, according to the latest data from the R.I. Department of Labor and Training.

The numbers show that the state’s economy is growing slowly, picking up jobs, but not yet adding all of the jobs lost during the Great Recession.  Rhode Island’s unemployment rate is above the national rate of 4.9 percent and significantly higher than the Massachusetts rate of 4.1 percent. The Bay State added about 7,300 jobs in July.

Kenneth Zirkel/Creative Commons License

  Christina Bevilacqua, the talented intellectual and public face of the Providence Athenaeum for more than a decade, is stepping down from her post as director of public engagement at the library on September 1st.

As public engagement director, Bevilacqua has developed new audiences for the historic library on Benefit Street and cemented the Athenaeum’s reputation as a top cultural center in Rhode Island. She was crucial to organizing such programs as the celebrated Salon Series and the Marcel Proust Reading Group.

Wikimedia Commons

  Democrat Hillary Clinton got some good news from Pennsylvania today with a Suffolk University public opinion survey showing her up 9 points in the Keystone State over Republican Donald Trump in the presidential election.

In a four –way contest with Green Party nominee Dr. Jill Stein and Libertarian Party candidate Gary Johnson the mix, Clinton led Trump, 46 to 37 percent. Johnson got 5 percent and Stein was at 3 percent with 9 percent undecided.

Aaron Read / RIPR

Rhode Island’s economy remains in the doldrums. That’s the takeaway from the latest unemployment and jobs data released Thursday by the state Department of Labor and Training

The state’s jobless rate inched up from 5.4 percent to 5.5 percent in June.  The good news is that the state gained 1,700 jobs. The bad news is that job growth remains sluggish, with a decline of 100 jobs in the first six months  of 2016.