News

Ian Donnis / RIPR


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

This week, Mark and Elisabeth speak with Mark Gray, coordinator of the state's Health Insurance Small Employer Taskforce, about the impact of new health insurance rates on small businesses.

Enjoy the heat while you can, since we'll be complaining about the cold in four months or so. Thanks for stopping by for my weekly column. As usual, your tips and comments are welcome, and you can follow me through the week on the twitters. Here we go.

Rosaline Stock/Creative Commons License

Public schools will seek to close achievement gaps in 3rd grade reading and mathematics by 2025, under a bill signed into law this week by Gov. Gina Raimondo.

The measure provides no specifics on how to close those gaps, but directs the state board overseeing K-12 education adopt it as a goal. 

Ambar Espinoza / RIPR

  There’s a new cell phone app designed to make getting to the ocean easier for people in Rhode Island. The shoreline access app maps exactly how far you are from all public ocean access points.

The project is part of the Rhode Island Sea Grant, a federal program attached to the University of Rhode Island. Sea Grant spokeswoman Monica Allard-Cox says the app builds on a guide written in the 90s.

Elisabeth Harrison

Starting in 2018, state colleges and universities will have to meet specific performance goals to receive increases in state funding, under a state law signed by Governor Gina Raimondo on Thursday.

The goals include increasing the number of students graduating on-time and adding graduates in fields that employers need. 

National Weather Service

The advisory for much of Southern New England lasts through 7 o’clock Friday evening. Temperatures are climbing into the 90s, but humidity could make it feel as hot as 103 degrees.

Meteorologist Lenore Correia recommends keeping outdoor activities to a minimum.

“People can get heat exhaustion and things like that,” said Correia. “You don’t want to leave your children in the car, or your pets, and you just want to be careful and make sure to drink lots of water.”

Correia said things will cool off by the end of the weekend.

JJBers / Creative Commons License

Work is underway on a new stretch of bike path in Providence. The project will create an off-road path from India Point Park, north towards Pawtucket. The path is just three-quarters of a mile, but State Department of Transportation Chief Operating Officer Peter Garino says it will connect two major bike paths.

“It may not be a long segment, but it really is a critical segment,” said Garino. “We’re looking at something that really connects both the Blackstone and East Bay Bike path and makes one path out of them. It’s the missing link between the two paths.”

RIPR FILE

As students enjoy the last few weeks of summer vacation, faculty at Rhode Island College are gearing up for a new semester and a new president. 

The board of the state Commerce Corporation this week approved incentives to help two companies expand in Rhode Island. State Commerce Secretary Stefan Pryor stopped by our studio yesterday to discuss a range of other issues involving economic development

Ian Donnis / RIPR

Behind the scenes negotiations on the I-195 District, and the inside word from state Commerce Secretary Stefan Pryor. 

Bill Malinowski, a highly respected Providence Journal investigative reporter, has died at age 57 after being stricken with ALS, commonly known as Lou Gehrig's disease.

A Connecticut native, Malinowski was known for being well sourced in law enforcement, and with former ProJo colleague Mike Stanton, he broke many of the stories that became focal points for the 2002 Plunder Dome trial of Providence Mayor Buddy Cianci.

FrostyDrew.org

For night-sky watchers, August is the time for the annual Perseid meteor shower. This year’s light show for Thursday and Friday nights promises to be unusually memorable, weather permitting, according to Scott MacNeill, Director of the Frosty Drew Observatory in Charlestown.

“Usually it produces up to 80 to 100 meteors an hour," he says. "But this year we could very likely see a Perseid outburst, of 200 plus meteors per hour.”

Aaron Read / RIPR

The Rhode Island Medical Society and state health officials are partnering with the American Medical Association on a new effort to train doctors who prescribe addictive opioid medications. The groups will develop a toolbox full of resources for prescribers.

Dr. Patrice Harris, chair of the board of the American Medical Association, says doctors and nurses want to curb the epidemic of opioid addiction and overdose.  But they often lack the resources and knowledge to act.

Kristin Gourlay / RIPR

Anya Rader Wallack took the position as head of Medicaid, the state’s health insurance program for low income residents, in October. Before that she led the state’s health insurance exchange, HealthSource RI. 

In an email sent to staff, Wallack wrote she accepted the Medicaid position during an especially difficult time, about a week after her husband passed away. She wrote the job has been “a rewarding challenge and a welcome distraction.”

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