Ambar Espinoza

Environmental Reporter

Ambar Espinoza’s roots in environmental journalism started in Rhode Island a few years ago as an environmental reporting fellow at the Metcalf Institute for Marine & Environmental Reporting. She worked as a reporter for Minnesota Public Radio for a few years covering several beats, including the environment and changing demographics. Her journalism experience includes working as production and editorial assistant at National Public Radio, and as a researcher at APM’s Marketplace.

Espinoza joins Rhode Island Public Radio most recently from Seattle, WA, where she earned a master of education with a focus on science education from the University of Washington. She earned her bachelor’s degree in political science from American University in Washington, D.C. Espinoza was born in El Salvador and raised in Los Angeles, CA.

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RIPR File Photo

The Rhode Island School of Design is the first university in the state to pledge to stop investing in fossil fuel companies.

  Board Chairman Michael Spalter said the trustees studied the issue for two years after a student campaign. He said ultimately they felt it was the right move and voted unanimously for the change.

RIPR File Photo

Town officials on Block Island are calling the recent deer hunting season a success. Local hunters took down more than 400 deer.

Block Island has a high incidence of Lyme disease, transmitted by the bite of a deer tick. So last year the town of New Shoreham and the Department of Environmental Management hired a professional sharpshooting company, Connecticut-based White Buffalo, Inc., to curb the island’s large deer population. But the project fell through.

Daniel Guy via Flickr Creative Commons

Newport beaches and parks, and the historic Cliff Walk may soon become smoke-free. The Newport City Council has given a preliminary green light to a smoking ban.

Newport Mayor Jeanne-Marie Napolitano said the city council will likely give the smoking ban a final approval next month. She said most of the council members support the move, while a few others would like a compromise, such as designated smoking areas.

Napolitano said the benefit of a smoking ban on public beaches and in parks is two-fold.

RIPR FILE

A bill attempting to phase out cesspools takes a major step forward this week. The Rhode Island Senate approved the bill.

The bill would require homeowners selling their properties to replace their cesspools with any system that handles and treats human waste, like a septic system. That’s a hole in the ground that receives untreated human waste from a building. It can contaminate groundwater and local waterways.  

Meg Kerr, Rhode Island director of Clean Water Action, said the bill has come before the General Assembly for a number of years now.

Ambar Espinoza / RIPR

Fare increases of 10 percent have taken effect for regular tickets on the Block Island Ferry. Interstate Navigation Company said the increase covers the costs of maintaining the ferries and docks.

Sarah Isabella, owner of Froozies Juice Bar and Café on Block Island, said she doesn’t think it will affect the number of tourists visiting the island. Isabella said she would be worried if the increase applied to freight rates, “because then we are eventually going to have to pass on the price onto tourists and at some point it all gets, kind of, out of reach.”

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