News

Ian Donnis / RIPR

Rhode Island has yet another study on what ails our state’s economy, this time from the Brookings Institution, a Washington, D.C. think-tank. RIPR political analyst Scott MacKay wonders what it will take to translate this plan into action.

Winter is here in earnest, with weekend snow, and the political beat is revving at full throttle. Thanks for stopping by. As usual, your tips and feedback are welcome, and you can follow me through the week on the twitters. Here we go.

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 talk with Dr. Sylvia Maxfield, dean of the School of Business at Providence College, about the new Brookings Institution report on how to improve Rhode Island's economy.  

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. news@ripr.org      

Courtesy DK Communications

Baltimore-based Wexford Science and Technology and real estate developer CV Properties have signed a purchase and sale agreement for two parcels of land and plan to develop a three-phase project on the vacant former highway land with research and development space, offices, hotel and residential space and other attractions.

Governor Gina Raimondo hailed the news.

Courtesy of Bill Zinni / U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service

The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service is proposing a new national wildlife refuge in the Northeast. The refuge would include parts of Rhode Island and would protect native shrubs and small trees.

Over the past several decades, shrubs and young trees in the Northeast have been cleared for development or grown into mature forests. As those habitats have declined, scientists say so have more than 65 species of birds, mammals, reptiles, pollinating insects and other wildlife.

Kristin Gourlay / RIPR

Testimony is slated to be heard during a session Friday, related to the state’s lawsuit over 38 Studios.

One of the defendants being sued by the state, Wells Fargo Securities, is trying to obtain the SEC testimony of Michael Saul. Saul is a former deputy director of the state’s economic development agency.

State Rep. Joseph Shekarchi (D-Warwick), and the chairman of the House Labor Committee, joins Bonus Q+A to talk about a series of legislative issues, including ethics, tolls, incentives, and firefighter overtime.

Ian Donnis / RIPR

State Rep. Joseph Shekarchi (D-Warwick) joins Political Roundtable this week to discuss Brookings' recommendations on the state's economy; and whether it's appropriate for Governor Raimondo to use university foundations to fund some of her initiatives.

Elisabeth Harrison

Rhode Island Public Radio has confirmed the name of another teacher at St. George’s School who has been accused of sexual abuse.

The teacher is referenced as "Employee Perpetrator #5" in the school’s recent investigation. Rhode Island Public Radio believes the teacher in question is Timothy Tefft, who worked at St. George's for just a few months in 1971.

Tefft was let go from St. George's for providing alcohol to students, according to the school's report. The school learned of the allegation of sexual abuse during its recent investigation and reported it to state police.

The Middletown boarding school accused of covering up allegations of sexual abuse provided home loans for the current Head of School Eric Peterson, even though he lives on the school’s campus. Later, the board forgave the loans, which were used to purchase a house on Cape Cod.


Kristin Gourlay / RIPR

Hundreds of Rhode Islanders have died from drug overdoses this year – a number that has barely budged from last year, despite numerous state and other efforts to stop it. One of Governor Raimondo’s initiatives was to convene a task force to tackle this crisis. 

Elisabeth Harrison / RIPR

The House Committee on Health, Education and Welfare has passed a bill that would make it harder to open new charter schools in Rhode Island.

The bill requires approval from the city or town council of any municipality that would send students to the proposed school. Current state law requires approval only from the State Department of Education.

Charter school leaders have said the bill will curtail the growth of charter schools, especially those that serve multiple cities and towns.

Elisabeth Harrison / RIPR

St. George's School and a group of former students who have come forward with allegations of sexual abuse have announced that Scott Harshbarger will no longer conduct the independent investigation into the school's history.

In a joint statement, the school and the former students say they were unable to come to an agreement with Harshbarger and his firm Casner & Edwards over the terms of engagement.

Instead, the two parties have named a new investigator, Martin F. Murphy, of the Boston law firm Foley Hoag.

Ian Donnis/File Photo / RIPR

The Republican Policy Group, a group of GOP lawmakers, unveiled an effort Wednesday to reduce wasteful state spending.

They held a Statehouse news conference to tout Waste-O-Meter -- a giant thermometer meant to highlight government waste.

State Rep. Patricia Morgan (R-West Warwick) said the Republican Policy Group is looking for the public's help in identifying wasteful spending.

Ian Donnis / RIPR

Due to the possibility of a major snow storm this weekend, Governor Gina Raimondo canceled her plan to leave Wednesday night for the annual World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.

The governor said keeping Rhode Islanders safe is her top priority. Spokeswoman Marie Aberger said the decision to scrap the trip was made with "imperfect [weather]information," four days ahead of the storm's expected impact.

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