Catherine Welch

News Director

Catherine Welch is news director at Rhode Island Public Radio. Before her move to Rhode Island in 2010, Catherine was news director at WHQR in Wilmington, NC. She was also news director at KBIA in Columbia, Missouri where she was a faculty member at the University Of Missouri School Of Journalism. Catherine has won several regional Edward R. Murrow awards and awards from the Public Radio News Directors Inc., New England AP, North Carolina Press Association, Missouri Press Association, and Missouri Broadcasters Association.

Now that she manages a full newsroom she files less regularly for NPR’s All Things ConsideredMorning Edition and Weekend Edition.  In 2009 she was part of an NPR series on America’s Battalion out of Camp Lejeune, NC following Marine families during the battalion’s deployment to southern Afghanistan. And because Wilmington was the national test market for the digital television conversion, she became a quasi-expert on DTV, filing stories for NPR on the topic.

Catherine got her start in radio at her family’s radio station in Florida with her weekly jazz show "Catherine Keeping You Company." Her very first interview with Cab Calloway remains the strangest one she’s ever done, and she will gladly tell you the story should you ask.

Before joining the public radio family, Catherine worked in television at KTVU in Oakland, CA and at the cable technology network formerly known as TechTV.

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RI News
4:33 pm
Tue June 24, 2014

RI Bridge Authority May Sell Sakonnet Tolling Equipment

Controversial tolls were eliminated from the Sakonnet River Bridge in the latest state budget.
Credit RIDOT

The Rhode Island Turnpike and Bridge Authority said it’s not sure when the tolling gantry will come down off the Sakonnet River Bridge. Tolls came off the bridge last Friday after the General Assembly eliminated them in the budget that kicks in July 1st.  

The Bridge Authority will have to pay a $1 million fee to terminate its contract with the company that pursues toll violators. Beyond that, Executive Director Buddy Croft said the price to remove tolling will be minimal compared to the nearly $4 million it cost to install the equipment.

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Politics
12:16 pm
Mon June 23, 2014

Several Veterans Bills Make It Through The RI General Assembly

Credit file / RIPR

Several veteran-related bills made it through the General Assembly and are on their way to the governor’s desk. One of those bills gives disabled veterans waivers for classes at state colleges and universities.

Another bill lets honorably discharged veterans and National Guard reservists transfer skills they’ve learned during their service to fulfill requirements for trade apprenticeships.

Lawmakers also passed a resolution urging employers to give veterans who work for them time off on Veteran’s Day.

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Environment
3:58 pm
Fri June 13, 2014

RI Needs Your Help Counting Wild Turkeys

A hen turkey with her brood.
Credit Ben Taft / RI DEM

Back in the 80’s the state started a project to boost a declining wild turkey population by establishing new flocks across the state – from Exeter to Foster, Scituate to Tiverton.

That helped.

But the turkey population has declined in the past few years. So the DEM counts female turkeys and young turkeys to get a sense of population growth. And this is where the public comes in. The DEM is asking residents to report sightings of turkey hens and young turkeys.

The wild turkey population is estimated at about 3,500, a number that’s grown in the past two years.

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RI News
2:40 pm
Fri June 13, 2014

Mayor Avedisian: We’re Working On A New City Budget

Warwick city officials are hammering out the details of a city budget that’s been at the center of a dispute between the city council and the mayor. Hanging in the balance is the property tax rate that will cover the new budget. Rhode Island Public Radio’s Catherine Welch sat down with Warwick Mayor Scott

Avedisian to find out where the city is in buttoning down the budget,  and what residents can expect on their next tax bill.

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Business
1:55 pm
Thu June 12, 2014

New $6M In Federal Funding For TF Green Runway Expansion

The FAA funding will expand TF Green's main runway to 8,700 feet. That's long enough to accommodate the larger jets that fly non-stop to the west coast.
Credit File / RIPR

Federal dollars are heading to Warwick to relocate ball fields as part of TF Green’s runway expansion.

The ball fields at Winslow Park need to be moved so the airport can extend the main runway by a little more than 1,500 feet. That extra stretch of runway will allow for the larger, heavier planes that fly coast to coast and overseas.

The runway expansion has been controversial, with opponents concerned about the effects of noise and air pollution from the larger jets on residents and nearby school children.

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Politics
8:51 am
Thu June 12, 2014

State's Historic Tax Program Not Included In State Budget

The top of the Atlantic Mills building in Providence is one of the Providence Preservation Society most 'endangered' properties in the city. The Society has been working to redevelop the property; hoping to take advantage of the state's historic tax credits program.
Credit Providence Preservation Society

The House will take up a budget Thursday that does not include funding for the state’s historic tax credit program. In his budget, the governor included $52 million in tax credits with a $5 million per-project cap. But in a statement, House Speaker Nicholas Mattiello said the state is taking a one-year break, and points to projects still in the pipeline. Providence Preservation Society Executive Director Brent Runyon said that pipeline needs to stay open.

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RIPR News
3:29 pm
Wed June 11, 2014

RI Bridge Authority Approves Median Along Pell Bridge

Credit Ryan T. Conaty

The Rhode Island Turnpike and Bridge Authority voted unanimously Wednesday to install a median barrier along the bridge.

There is currently a line of yellow dividers down the center of the bridge, acting as a kind of visual barrier to keep drivers in their lanes. Those dividers will be replaced with a median barrier to prevent accidents caused by drivers crossing over into on-coming traffic.

Calls for a barrier on the Pell Bridge grew louder back in January after a deadly head-on collision on Christmas Eve.

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Politics
2:27 am
Wed June 11, 2014

RI Lawmakers Again Consider Calamari As Official State Appetizer

A House committee is scheduled to vote Wednesday on a bill that would make calamari the official state appetizer. If this sounds familiar it’s because last year similar legislation grabbed headlines then died in the General Assembly.

The whole thing started when Rep. Joseph McNamara spotted “Rhode Island calamari” on the menu at a fancy restaurant in New Hampshire.  To his thinking, if calamari became the official appetizer then that just might put the state’s name on menus across the country.

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Education
9:18 am
Tue June 10, 2014

Civil Rights Leader To Speak At URI

URI's Kingston campus.
Credit RIPR FILE

Rev. Bernard Lafayette Jr., a leader in the civil rights movement, will speak at the University of Rhode Island Tuesday.

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RI News
5:18 pm
Mon June 9, 2014

VA Audit: Providence VA Has Some Of Longest Wait Times

Providence VA hospital has some of the nation's longest wait times.
Credit RIPR FILE

An audit released by the VA finds patients at the Providence VA Medical Center have some of the longest average waits in the nation to receive primary care. The Providence VA said that’s due to staff who retired and an increase in patients at its clinic in Hyannis, MA.

New patients receiving their first primary care appointments waited an average of about 74 days, according to the VA audit. Only seven other facilities across the country had longer waits.

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