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, MO 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 was with Cab Calloway, and it remains the strangest one she’s ever done. 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.

Ways to Connect

The Rhode Island State Council on the Arts is taking umbrage with a new report claiming taxpayers are paying for tasteless and offensive art.

The report from the Rhode Island Center for Freedom and Prosperity claims taxpayer money was used to fund an erotic holiday party, underwear art, and an international film festival that shows movies some would consider “depraved.” But RISCA refutes those claims saying it didn’t fund any party or underwear art, but gave a grant a few years ago to an artist mentioned in a blog about those events.

Gas prices have dropped by a penny in both Rhode Island and Massachusetts. The latest survey from AAA Southern New England puts the average gallon of regular unleaded at $3.59. That’s a tiny bit above the national average but lower than what drivers were paying at the pump a year ago. 

Bay State drivers are paying an average $3.51 a gallon. That’s also down a penny from last week.

AAA urges drivers in both Rhode Island and Massachusetts to shop around, since the range in gas prices spans from 21-cents in Rhode Island to 32-cents in Massachusetts.

The Rhode Island Music Hall of Fame has announced the class of 2014. There are nine inductees, who range from folk and jazz musicians to R&B to club owners. The museum located in Pawtucket's Hope Artiste Village will hold a series of events next month to induct the musicians.

Rhode Island Public Radio’s Catherine Welch caught up with the museum’s Rick Bellaire for a few stories about these musicians from Rhode Island who made a name for themselves around the world.

Todd Giroux officially announced Tuesday that he’s running for governor. Giroux declared he’d run as a democrat back in October.

Giroux is a 43-year-old Woonsocket native. He’s a general contractor who specializes in historic preservation. He ran for governor in 2010 as an independent.

Giroux said he’ll be a governor who listens and responds. “We need a governor that has a steady hand on the rudder of this state,” he said. “And if we provide a commerce fund, an infrastructure fund then we have the tools that support the jobs plan.”

Rhode Island based Dave’s Coffee has landed a deal to put its coffee syrup on the shelves of Crate & Barrel. The company says “Dave’s Original Cold Brew Coffee Syrup” and “Dave’s Vanilla Cold Brew Coffee Syrup” are being featured in the gourmet food section in 89 Crate & Barrel stores nationwide.

Do you have insight or expertise on this topic?  Please email us, we'd like to hear from you.  news@ripr.org

Legislation being reviewed Wednesday would allow Bruins fans to show their support on a license plate. The bill creates a special Boston Bruins license plate, similar to the plates for the Boston Red Sox and New England Patriots.

The plate would cost an extra $40 and half of that would go to Rhode Island charities.  Sen. Maryellen Goodwin sponsored the bill.

Another piece of license plate legislation being reviewed Wednesday creates a plate for Eagle Scouts.

Ian Donnis / RIPR

Central Falls mayor James Diossa has called a meeting for Monday to see if the city can keep the Osram Sylvania plant open. The lighting manufacturer plans to shutter the plant in September.

Lighting manufacturer Osram Sylvania has announced it will close its plant in Central Falls. The company said the closing is due to changes in the light bulb industry.

Osram Sylvania said it needs to close the Central Falls plant so it can focus on its move from traditional lighting to solid-state lighting, such as LED light bulbs.

Providence College

An allegation of sexual assault involving members of the Providence College basketball team is casting a pall over the school’s trip to the NCAA Tournament.

A female student has reported that she was allegedly assaulted by two freshmen. The Wall Street Journal first reported that Providence police are now investigating.

Ryan T. Conaty

The head of the Rhode Island Turnpike and Bridge Authority is warning lawmakers that if they extend a toll on the Sakonnet River Bridge, then it may need to return the bridge to the state.

In a letter to lawmakers authority chairman David Darlington said pushing the expiration of the Sakonnet’s 10-cent toll from April 1st to July 1st may force the authority to consider returning the Sakonnet and Jamestown bridges to the state and raise tolls on the Newport Pell Bridge.

There were fewer children in Rhode Island last year with elevated lead levels in their blood. Improvements to housing played a big role in the decline.

Most of the drop in lead levels took place in Providence, Woonsocket, Warwick and Tiverton. In Providence, the city has made sure children couldn’t live in rental homes unless they were certified as lead-free.  Also, the city’s water authority monitored lead levels in drinking water.

RIPR FILE

The House Finance Committee will take up legislation Tuesday centered on funding bridge repair and keeping tolls off the Sakonnet River Bridge. Lawmakers also want to hang on to the bridge's current ten-cent toll for a few more months.

The latest numbers out of the state's health insurance exchange show most residents are enrolling in Medicaid and And many of those who have enrolled in private health insurance are getting financial assistance to help pay for their coverage.

 

New numbers show nearly 20,000 Rhode Islanders have signed up for insurance on HealthSource RI, the state's insurance exchange. Meanwhile, almost 49,000 have enrolled in a state-paid Medicaid plan. The numbers also show 133 small businesses have enrolled to offer their employees and families coverage through the exchange.

 

An Australian museum official will meet with Rhode Island archaeologists to discuss a way to partner in the search for the wreck of Capt. James Cook's ship Endeavor.

 

British explorer Capt. James Cook traveled on the ship Endeavor to the east coast of Australia in 1770, thus Australians consider Cook their founder and the Endeavor their founding ship.

 

The Endeavor changed hands and was renamed the Lord Sandwich, which sailed to Rhode Island only to be sunk in 1778 during a British blockade of Narragansett Bay.

 

A dozen students receiving culinary job training at the Rhode Island Food Bank graduate Friday evening. The program takes highly motivated low-income residents and trains them to work in the restaurant and hospitality industries.

 

The Food Bank launched the program 17 years ago, it's currently held in a modern industrial kitchen built at their site. As part of the 14-week program, cooking students prepare 600 hot meals a day for children in after-school programs in Providence. The Food Bank said this graduating class has made about 22,000 meals for school kids.

 

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