Low Crop Yield Due to Inclement Weather

Sep 2, 2013

If you’ve noticed shortages at your local farmstand, you can blame Mother Nature.   Local growers say late spring and early summer weather wreaked havoc on their crops.

Vinny Confreda, owner of Confreda Farms in Hope, has been forced to ration produce. If a grower wants 100 cases of sweet native corn, he may have to settle for 30.  The problem, says Confreda, was an exceptionally wet June followed by an unusually hot July.

A Providence waste handler has agreed to remove hazardous chemicals from 60 schools in Rhode Island and Massachusetts. The cleanup is part of a settlement with the Environmental Protection Agency.

John Bender / RIPR

Throughout the month of August, the Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management has been searching for evidence of the dreaded Asian Longhorned Beetle. A species so destructive it could defoliate much of New England.

Rhode Island Public Radio’s John Bender went out in search of the beetle with the D.E.M. team.


One of President Obama’s top advisers on climate change was in Rhode Island Wednesday, pressing the administration’s case for reducing the amount of pollutants in the air.  The stars of the press conference were two children who suffer from asthma.

Eight year old Kenyatta Richards has asthma.  On days when there’s an ozone alert – as there were nine times last month – she has to stay indoors to play.   Although she’s too young to fully understand the concept of climate change, she believes there’s a link between it and her illness.

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Once again lobsters off the shores of Rhode Island and Massachusetts are being plagued by a disease that affects their shells. 

But reportedly the disease has grown harsher.

Epizoodic shell disease, or as it commonly known, lobster shell disease, has been in New England for years.

The disease is a bacteria which eats away at the lobster’s shell, causing deterioration, but is generally not fatal.

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The Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management has announced the first finding of West Nile Virus in mosquitoes in the state this year.

The department routinely checks mosquitoes for both West Nile Virus, and Eastern Equine Encephalitis starting in the late spring.

Alan Getman of the DEM said West Nile Virus has been in Rhode Island for twelve years, and today’s reappearance was not unexpected.

file / RIPR

Deepwater Wind is looking for a new location to connect its offshore wind farm to the mainland. The original plan was to run a line from its Block Island wind farm to Narragansett’s Town Beach.

Residents complained about the plan, and the town council voted to suspend talks with Deepwater back in May. Deepwater Wind insisted that the lines would be buried ten feet underground. After meeting with residents back in June, Deepwater Wind CEO Jeff Grybowski withdrew an application request on Friday.

The Conservation Law Foundation said it plans to file a lawsuit against the operators of the Central Landfill and the companies involved in converting methane gas from the landfill into power. Director of the Conservation Law Foundation in Rhode Island, Tricia Jedele, said the landfill has been running without a required federal permit for 16 years.

The Town of Westerly and Copar Quarries head into mediation Wednesday to see if they can settle a dispute that will please both the quarry and residents.

Flo Jonic / RIPR

The town of Johnston has taken the unusual step of shutting down the company charged with drawing off gases from the state’s Central Landfill.  The reason is that persistent rotten egg smell that’s dogged the town for years.

Broadrock Renewables is supposed to siphon off gas from the landfill and turn it into energy. But lately the company has been allowing it to spew from pipes into the atmosphere, according to Johnston town officials.  Johnston Mayor Joseph Polisena has issued a cease and desist order, requiring the company to suspend operations until the problem is fixed.

Investigating Rhode Island's Tsunami

Jul 9, 2013
Bradley Campbell / RIPR

Scientists are still trying to understand what caused ocean levels across the state to fluctuate last month without warning. The event remains a relative mystery, but a group from the University of Rhode Island’s Graduate School of Oceanography believes it may have been a tsunami. 

The author H.P. Lovecraft wrote: "But more wonderful than the lore of old men and the lore of books is the secret lore of the ocean." Such is the case in this story. It starts on June 13th, when Chuck Ebersole had a really unusual day. He's a Steward at the Wickford Yacht Club.


A biology professor at the University of Rhode Island is conducting an inventory of the types of seaweeds that grow in Rhode Island ocean waters. 

Seaweed may be an annoyance, but it offers vital clues into the health of an ocean.  That’s why University of Rhode Island biology professor Christopher Lane has embarked on a study of the slimy stuff with an eye towards learning how many species of seaweed exist in Rhode Island, and which are the most invasive.

If you’re going outdoors this weekend, as many of us will, you’ll want to protect yourself against mosquito bites. The state Department of Environmental Management is reporting the largest crop of mosquitos in at least 21 years. 

The reason: heavy rains last month.  The warm, dry air mass that’s with us now is slowly killing the mosquito population, but the DEM’s Alan Gettman said they’ll be bad this weekend, particularly at fireworks shows.

Invasive Beetle and Borer: "We're Pretty Much Surrounded"

Jun 28, 2013

The Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management is once again urging summer campers not to move firewood from outside the state. That’s to keep from spreading a couple of tree-killing invasive insects, which, so far, haven’t shown up in Rhode Island. But this year, they’re closer than ever.

Narragansett Town Council Meets With Deepwater Wind

Jun 27, 2013
Bradley Campbell / RIPR

In Narragansett, residents filled the Town Hall Wednesday to hear a question and answer session between the Town Council and the CEO of Deepwater Wind.  The meeting focused on a proposal to run a transmission line, or power cable, underneath Town Beach.

Narragansett’s Town Hall was once again the hottest place in town Wednesday night. Both in terms of the passion of the subject matter being discussed, and the actual heat: there’s no air conditioning inside the hall.