Local Features

Elisabeth Harrison / RIPR

A pair of bills that could make it harder to open more charter schools are again up for committee votes at the Statehouse.

The House bill would place a one-year pause on the creation of new charter schools. After a legislative committee found reasons to re-evaluate the way the state funds public charter schools and public school districts, the bill calls for more time for lawmakers to consider changes.

A quiet Warwick neighborhood has been rocked in recent days following the arrest of one of its residents on terrorism charges. Federal authorities picked up 24-year-old Nicholas Rovinski on charges of aiding this Islamic State. He’s also charged with conspiring to commit acts of violence against U.S. citizens.

According to an affidavit Rovinski had an active online presence; communicating in support of the Islamic State, or ISIS.

John Bender / RIPR

Over the years, the state has slashed budgets across all government agencies, including the Department of Environmental Management. This agency, tasked with protecting the environment, has seen a decline in staffing. Environmental advocates say these cuts have weakened and slowed enforcing environmental laws and regulations.   

Earlier this year, residents packed a small room at the Statehouse for a hearing about a zoning bill. They complained to lawmakers about industrial pollution from a quarry in Westerly. Residents blame the DEM for poor monitoring and enforcement.

John Bender / RIPR

Providence Mayor Jorge Elorza is embarking on his first major arts and tourism initiative since taking office in January. The first annual Providence International Arts Festival goes on all this weekend. City officials have grand plans for the event.

Days before -- and a mile from the festival site -- a group of local artists and musicians are busy sawing away at two-by-fours, and nailing them together at the Columbus Theater. They’re building a stage. Alternating wood stains create a red and brown striped pattern.

Elisabeth Harrison

Warwick resident Nicholas Rovinski sits in a jail cell accused of conspiring to support the Islamic State in Iraq. Rhode Island Public Radio's Dave Fallon spoke with Roger Williams Law School Professor Peter Margulies about the charges against Rovinski and federal anti-terrorism law.

Margulies explains the FBI's case against Rovinski and says U.S. law allows a relatively wide definition of the term "conspiracy." Margulies observes that additional charges are possible in this case.

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