The renowned seventeenth-century British poet John Milton began to lose his sight in his early 30's. Milton opened his poem entitled On Blindness with these words: "When I consider how my light is spent, Ere half my days in this dark world . . . ." Milton spent considerable time reflecting on his blindness and also wrote these poignant words: "To be blind is not miserable; not to be able to bear blindness, that is miserable." Nancy Jasper shares her own poetic reflections on this remarkable challenge.

Nancy Jasper is a clinical social worker at Child and Family, a comprehensive social service agency in Middletown.

John Bender / RIPR

Providence Mayor Jorge Elorza has launched an advisory council to focus on gun violence. The 11-member group will meet at least four times a year, and deliver annual recommendations to the city.


Representatives from 10 different cities head to Rhode Island this week to find out how Providence provides afterschool programs. They're interested in the Providence Afterschool Alliance, which coordinates bussing and activities for roughly 2,000 Providence students.

PASA works with nonprofits that provide a range of programs from art and music to science, math and sports. The group also works with city and school officials to serve roughly one-third of all Providence middle school students. In recent years, PASA has been expanding into high schools. 

Brown University

Brown University’s institute for international affairs and public policy has received a gift of $50 million dollars. With the new gift, the Watson Institute plans to increase its number of faculty by 30 professors, and construct a new building.

Approximately half of the gift will go towards the new building. Early plans call for 20,000 square foot facility. Final design and site selection have yet to be completed.

The gift comes as the university embarks on a funding campaign to raise $3 billion dollars, the largest in its history.

The group tasked with reevaluating the way the state spends money on K-12 education meets for the first time Tuesday. The state’s current plan for education spending is now five years old.

The Funding Formula Working Group will examine what changes might be made to the system, which comprises the second largest slice of the state’s budget.

Among the issues the group will tackle are the funding of charter schools, special-needs education, and programs for English language learners.

Rhode Island’s only law school, in partnership with a local law firm, is opening a legal clinic for disabled veterans. Students at the Roger Williams University Law School will work directly with veterans.


With a little supervision, the lawyers-in-training will help veterans who have been denied disability benefits, navigate the appeals process.

Erik Wallim, director of the veterans’ advocacy group Operation Stand Down Rhode Island, says that process can involve a lot of red tape and long wait times for a resolution.

Chard deNiord, a Providence College English professor, has been named Vermont’s poet laureate. A resident of Westminster in southern Vermont, deNiord replaces Syndey Lea as poet laureate in the Green Mountain state.

deNiord joined the PC faculty in 1998 and won the Joseph R. Accinno Faculty Teaching Award at PC in 2011. A co-founder of the New England College MFA program, he is the author of many poetry collections, including `Interstate’ (2015), `The Double Truth’ (2011), `Night Mowing’ (2005),  `Sharp Golden Thorn’ (2003) and `Asleep in the Fire’ (1990).

John Bender / RIPR

Narragansett Bay and its watershed are getting healthier, but more work to clean them up lies ahead, according to the fifth annual Watershed Counts report.

Ian Donnis / RIPR

Democrat Michael Sepe is running for Mayor of Cranston. Sepe made the formal announcement on Sunday.

Sepe told Rhode Island Public Radio of his intention to run this summer. At the time current Cranston Mayor Allan Fung was embroiled in a controversy over the management of the city police department.

Chuck Hinman / RIPR

In early 1860, Abraham Lincoln came to Rhode Island gathering support for his presidential campaign. He stopped in Providence and Woonsocket. and there's a rumor that he also visited Burrillville's Western Hotel, a popular stagecoach stop on the Douglas Turnpike. For the final installment in our series One Square Mile: Burrillville, Rhode Island Public Radio's Chuck Hinman takes us to the Western Hotel, in the village of Nasonville, in the town's southeast corner. It turns out, this hotel has some interesting history, both real and imagined.  

Brown university will honor one of its greatest coaches Saturday afternoon when it renames its soccer field for the retiring women’s soccer coach Phil Pincince.

Already named for the iconic men's soccer and lacrosse coach Cliff Stevenson, the pitch will be renamed Stevenson-Pincince Field in a ceremony before the Bears final 2015 home game at 3:30 against Penn.

Ambar Espinoza / RIPR

This week, a Burrillville couple sued Warner Brothers over the movie “The Conjuring,” claiming it has turned their lives into a nightmare. The couple lives in the house that the supernatural thriller is based on. They claim their peace and quiet has been ruined by trespassers trying to check out their supposedly haunted property. Well, it turns out that tales about “The Conjuring” house are among several ghost stories told in Burrillville. 

Rhode Island’s health department is looking for help encouraging doctors to use a database that monitors prescription drugs. The department is adding four new positions to a new team to fight addiction and overdose.

Rhode Island received a four-year, nearly $4 million dollar grant earlier this year to fight rising rates of addiction and overdose deaths. Now the department of health is ready to put that money to use, hiring four new staffers. First, an outreach coordinator to help promote the state’s prescription drug monitoring program.

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 chat with Burrillville Economic Development Director Thomas Kravitz about encouraging growth while maintaining the town's rural character and historic mill villages.


This week's episode of The Bottom Line is part of our series One Square Mile: Burrillville.

When to listen:

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

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