Tis the season of shopping, socializing and celebrating. RIPR political analyst Scott MacKay says commercialism has over shadowed the holiday season. (Advance copy of weekly commentary).

Thanksgiving is that wonderful holiday dedicated to feasting, family and giving thanks for what we have. The next day, Black Friday, is the day many  people speed to the mall in the pre-dawn darkness to line up under the wary eyes of security cops,  jostle each other and buy more stuff.

David Sullivan, Rhode Island’s well-regarded state tax administrator, is leaving his post in state government for a private sector job.

James DeWolf Perry has been named executive director of the Center for Reconciliation, the Episcopal Diocese of Rhode Island’s initiative to locate a slavery museum and inter-racial reconciliation center at the former Cathedral of St. John in Providence.


In Rhode Island, Brown University has announced that it will use one-hundred million dollars to diversify its campus, to try to make the school more inclusive for students of color. This comes after weeks of protests over racial insensitivity on campuses across the country.

Brown University President Christina Paxson is out with a plan to address racial and class inequity on campus. 

Elisabeth Harrison / RIPR FILE

Rhode Island is joining a national effort to increase reading proficiency in elementary school. New state and national test scores show major achievement gaps.

According to the new PARCC standardized test, and another known as the Nation’s Report card, low-income fourth graders are about half as likely to be reading at grade level as their peers.

The new initiative, spearheaded by the education advocacy non-profit RI Kids Count and the United Way of Rhode Island, hopes to close that gap, by the third grade.

House Speaker Nicholas Mattiello has signed a subpoena calling on Curt Schilling to appear for a December 15th meeting of the House Oversight Committee.

Mark Turek / Trinity Rep

As we know, Christmas comes but once a year. And this time around Trinity Rep is presenting its evergreen production of “A Christmas Carol” earlier than usual. Rhode Island Public Radio’s Bill Gale says that’s a good thing, for several reasons.

“A Christmas Carol” continues at Trinity Rep through December 31st. Bill Gale reviews the performing arts for Rhode Island Public Radio

The state is distributing some $4.5 million dollars for job training programs around the state. The money will be split among 26 groups.

The winning groups include Rhode Island businesses and non-profits across sectors from finance to defense. North Kingstown-based submarine builder Electric Boat received the largest grant of almost $370,000.

Electric Boat training manager Craig Sipe said the company will use the grant to expand training programs.

Courtesy of Isabel Burnham / Norman Bird Sanctuary

The Norman Bird Sanctuary in Middletown boasts beautiful views of its 325-acre property year-round. Now people with wheelchairs, walkers, and baby strollers will be able to enjoy the wildlife sanctuary with greater ease. The wildlife sanctuary unveiled its first accessible trail this week.

Wexford Science & Technology

The president of Wexford Science & Technology, which has proposed a one-million-square-foot mixed-use development on five acres in the I-195 District, told a crowd of business and civil leaders Monday night that Providence has the necessary elements to create a successful innovation hub.

The 2015 Status Report on Hunger in the Ocean State is out Monday from the Rhode Island Community Food Bank. The rate of food insecurity in Rhode Island has declined slightly since the peak following the recession, but thousands of Rhode Island families continue to struggle to meet basic food needs.

Food Bank CEO Andrew Schiff said the state’s sluggish economic recovery has had little impact on those most in need.

Elisabeth Harrison / RIPR

A group of parents wants Rhode Island to require recess as part of the school day. The parents are organizing to make their case at a public hearing scheduled for Monday.

African cuisine will be on display in Pawtucket Saturday. The African Alliance of Rhode Island plans to present a public cooking demonstration.

The group maintains a network of community gardens, dedicated to native produce from Africa. These are fruits and vegetables you won’t find at the local grocery store, like special varieties of hot peppers and a small, round vegetable called the African Garden Egg.

Alliance President Julius Kolawole said it makes a flavorful sauce.

Providence Business News Editor Mark Murphy joins Rhode Island Public Radio's Dave Fallon for our weekly business segment, The Bottom Line.

This week Mark and Dave sit down with Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Rhode Island CFO Michael Hudson, who explains why the company has laid off 80 employees. 

 When to listen:

You can hear The Bottom Line each Friday at 5:50pm.

Do you have insight or expertise on this topic? Please email us, we'd like to hear from you.     

A group of Rhode Island College faculty and staff has sent a strongly-worded letter to state officials, warning that college President Nancy Carriuolo is taking RIC in the wrong direction. The letter comes as the State Council on Post Secondary Education conducts an annual personnel review for Carriuolo.

In the letter, 14 RIC faculty and staff members accuse Carriuolo of mismanaging the college and firing or reassigning employees who disagree with her.