Federal officials are collecting public comments this week about National Grid’s proposal to build a liquefied natural gas facility in Providence. Residents can sign up to speak at the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s public hearing beginning at 6 p.m. on Thursday, October 8 at Juanita Sanchez Educational Complex.

Kristin Gourlay / RIPR

It's not just financial irregularities plaguing the child welfare agency. There are lists of reforms officials must tackle - including 20 specific recommendations from a group of lawmakers.

When the state’s child welfare agency told the General Assembly it would need another cash infusion to make it through the end of the year, a group of lawmakers decided to dig in to the root cause of the agency’s financial problems.

This I Believe Rhode Island: Reason to Hope

Oct 7, 2015

  There are times when despair seems to saturate our lives.  The sudden death of a loved one, which is followed by the loss of a job on the same day as the ominous cancer diagnosis, which happened a mere three weeks after receiving the foreclosure notice on one’s house.  You get the idea.  All of us have bad days now and then, but for some there are those bad weeks, or months, or even years.  In the midst of it all, it sure can be hard to find reason to hope, but hope we must.  And that’s what we hear from Doreen Conca Engel.

Doreen Conca Engel serves as a Guidance Counselor and the Director of the Benilde Program at St. Raphael Academy in Pawtucket.

Wikimedia Commons

A group of University of Rhode Island professors are urging the administration to equip campus police with body cameras.

The URI chapter of the American Association of University Professors, says the school should join the national trend. They say about a third of police officers in the U.S. have body cameras. The group also points to the relative affordability of the cameras, which usually run fewer than $500 dollars each.

URI voted to arm campus police last year, the force was armed this past Spring.

2nd Story Theatre

Ed Shea, artistic director of Warren's 2nd Story Theatre, had to ring up theater folk in London for permission to do “Dangerous Corner,” a mostly forgotten 1930s play by J.B. Priestley. Bill Gale says the result is, somewhat mixed.

Kristin Gourlay / RIPR

Another audit has uncovered more irregularities in accounting practices at the state Department of Children, Youth and Families.

Ian Donnis/File Photo / RIPR

A coalition of five advocacy groups wants Rhode Island lawmakers to declare whether or not they support thorough legislative hearings and an outside investigation to document what went wrong with 38 Studios.

A new poll shows that 76 percent of respondents think the state spends too little to maintain roads and bridges. A narrow majority supports Governor Gina Raimondo’s plan for improving infrastructure.

Ambar Espinoza / RIPR

Ocean planners from near and far will gather for the annual Ronald C. Baird Sea Grant Science Symposium at the University of Rhode Island’s Bay Campus to exchange ideas about how to continue to share the ocean.

Ambar Espinoza / RIPR

Humans have been harnessing energy from rivers for thousands of years. Think water wheels from Ancient Greece and modern hydropower plants, like the Hoover Dam. Brown University engineers have a new take on a hydropower device that could harness enough energy to power communities in remote locations or along fast-flowing rivers.

Ian Donnis / RIPR

Teny Gross moved to Rhode Island in 2001 to lead a new organization dedicated to reducing violence in Providence. Fourteen years later, Gross will work his last day Friday at the Institute for the Study and Practice of Nonviolence. The 49-year-old Israeli native is leaving to start a new nonviolence group in Chicago, although Gross says he’ll continue to spend some time in Rhode Island. He sat down to reflect on his time leading the institute and efforts to reduce violence in Rhode Island.

John Bender / RIPR

Lawmakers continue their oversight of the state’s troubled child welfare agency with a quarterly hearing tomorrow.  

The joint Senate Health and Human Services Committee and Senate Finance Committee has been monitoring the progress of the Department of Children, Youth, and Families since 2014. That’s when budget overruns prompted more scrutiny of the agency, and several reports found the problems ran deeper than money. 

Elisabeth Harrison / RIPR

Children who know more words tend to do better in school, and that has some researchers wondering whether early language may offer a key to closing the achievement gap. That’s why Providence has launched Providence Talks, with millions of dollars from the Bloomberg Foundation. The program hopes to boost children’s vocabularies by teaching parents to be chattier with their babies and toddlers.

Data from a pilot study due out Monday shows promise. Rhode Island Public Radio’s Elisabeth Harrison went on a home visit with a Providence Talks coach, to see how the program works.

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.

Kristin Gourlay / RIPR

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.