Hurricane Joaquin blows toward Rhode Island as the state remains vexed by its own ring of challenges: the hangover of 38 Studios, trying to modernize state agencies, financially troubled fire districts, you name it. Thanks for stopping by for my weekly column. As always your tips and thoughts are welcome at idonnis (at) ripr (dot) org, and you can follow me through the week on the twitters. Here we go.

The recent 38 Studios lawsuit disclosures have provided an inside view of how Rhode Island state government let you down. RIPR political analyst Scott MacKay points to other state agencies in dire need of oversight.

One of the most damning aspects of the 38  Studios disaster was the utter lack of monitoring of the $75 million taxpayer-backed subsidy to the failed video game company.  Investors were promised that IBM would offer an independent, third-party check on the firm and its performance.

Ambar Espinoza / RIPR

The lead federal agency involved in the Block Island Wind Farm has embarked on a five-year study to examine the project’s environmental impact.

Phil West, the longtime former director of Common Cause of Rhode Island, joins Bonus Q+A to talk about fallout from 38 Studios, the fight for better government, criminal-justice reform, and much more.

Ian Donnis / RIPR

Longtime former Common Cause of Rhode Island head Phil West joins Political Roundtable to discuss the fallout from the release of thousands of pages of 38 Studios court documents.

Wikimedia Commons

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.

  The 100th football game between Rhode Island and Brown Saturday night at Brown Stadium will be a tough ticket. To sell, not to buy. Or, would you want to sit outside, possibly in the rain, to watch a pair of teams with a combined record of 0-6?


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.

Law enforcement officials are turning to the courts as they look to turn the tide on a drug overdose epidemic. Rhode Island Attorney General Peter Kilmartin says it will be increasingly common to bring murder charges against drug dealers and manufacturers involved in an overdose death.

“We actually have a case right now regarding a fentanyl death," said Kilmartin. "And that’s in the court process. And we’ll see what the outcome of the case is. It’s the first case ever prosecuted in the state like that so we’re hopeful.”

John D. & Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation/Creative Commons License

Artist Nicole Eisenman, who received a BFA in painting from RISD in 1987 is part of the new class of MacArthur Grant recipients.

Eisenman works in a variety of media including painting, sculpture and printmaking.


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.”