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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Transportation
4:12 pm
Wed July 3, 2013

RI Turnpike Authority: You Can't Bill Somebody for a Ten-Cent Toll

Because tolls are collected electronically, the plan was to charge an extra $1.50 for drivers without an E-ZPass who would then be billed in the mail.

The head of the Rhode Island Turnpike and Bridge Authority said it’s going to take some time to figure out how to collect tolls on the Sakonnet River Bridge from drivers who don’t have an E-ZPass.

A toll gate will collect tolls electronically, with an extra fee tacked on for drivers who lack an E-ZPass and need a bill sent in the mail. But since the toll is now only a dime, Turnpike and Bridge Authority chairman David Darlington said they’ll have to find a cost-effective way to send those bills.

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Education
4:14 pm
Tue July 2, 2013

Twenty-eight RI Schools Receive a Low State Ranking

Education commissioner Deborah Gist says the rankings provide an opportunity for improvement in RI's schools.
Credit Elisabeth Harrison / RIPR

Rhode Island Education Commissioner Deborah Gist said parents in schools receiving a low rating should seek answers into how those schools are going to improve.

Twenty-eight schools received the lowest ratings, many of them were in Providence. The education department said the rating system is designed to identify warning signs and to help schools improve. Gist said while it takes years to turn a school around, parents should be concerned about a low-performing school.

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Transportation
12:34 pm
Fri June 28, 2013

RI Turnpike Authority: Toll Freeze Could Violate Promises Made in Bonds

The Rhode Island Turnpike and Bridge Authority says it’s worried that a toll freeze on the Sakonnet River Bridge may violate promises the authority made in previous bond sales.

When the Turnpike and Bridge Authority put bonds up for sale, it made a promise to bond buyers that it would not take on assets that didn’t come with a revenue stream. That way, says Chairman David Darlington, the authority doesn’t get loaded down with bridges it can pay for. He says delaying tolls on the Sakonnet Bridge puts the Turnpike and Bridge Authority in conflict with those promises.

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Politics
2:19 pm
Wed June 26, 2013

RI Reactions to SCOTUS Decision on DOMA

Congressman David Cicilline is calling this a good day for equality, reacting to news of the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision striking down a provision of a federal law denying federal benefits to married gay couples.

“No longer will people be discriminated against because of who they love,” said Cicilline, “and all marriages will be respected and people will be treated equally under the law. That’s a great victory.”

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Politics
10:47 am
Wed June 19, 2013

Chafee Urges State to Pay Off 38 Studios Bonds Following Downgrade

Governor Lincoln Chafee is urging the state to pay off the money owed for loans on 38 Studios following a downgrade from Moody's.
Credit Catherine Welch / RIPR

Gov. Lincoln Chafee says Moody’s is sending Rhode Island an important message by downgrading the state’s bonds for its failed deal with 38 Studios.

The credit rating agency downgraded the bonds by two notches and put the state on notice that the rest of its obligations are under review for a possible downgrade.

Lawmakers are debating whether to default on the moral obligation bonds used to float the failed video game company. Chafee said as Moody’s has shown, that’s a bad idea.

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RI News
9:30 am
Wed June 19, 2013

Windfall Expected From Table Games Opening at Twin River

Twin River Casino will start table games like blackjack and poker on Wednesday.
Credit Flo Jonic / RIPR

Rhode Island expects to pocket six-and-a-half million dollars just from table games in the next fiscal year.

Fred Carstensen  is an economist at the University of Connecticut who has been studying casino gambling in that state. He said as casinos open in Massachusetts, Rhode Island should expect to get a smaller piece of the casino pie.

"It’s not a bottomless pit, you’re shifting money away from other activities and frankly it doesn’t really create value," said Cartensen.

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Environment
3:02 pm
Tue June 18, 2013

RI Transitioning Into a Greener Fleet of State Vehicles

A Tesla owned by Rhode Island resident Don Wineberg shows nothing but storage space under the hood of the electric car.
Credit Catherine Welch / RIPR

While kicking off a push to install a network of 50 electric vehicle charging stations, Gov. Lincoln Chafee announced the state will replace much of its fleet with hybrid and electric vehicles. Chafee made the announcement at Roger Williams University, where the first charging station was unveiled.

Director of Administration Richard Licht said the program started this spring, and so far the state has replaced 30 gas-fueled vehicles with hybrids.  He notes that a waiver will be given to agencies, such as law enforcement, that can’t find a comparable substitute.

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Politics
12:23 pm
Tue June 18, 2013

Gov. Chafee Shrugs off Bloomberg Fundraiser for Treasurer Raimondo

New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg came to Providence to stump for Chafee during the 2010 governor's race.
Credit file / RIPR

Gov. Lincoln Chafee is shrugging off news that New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg is holding a fundraiser this week for state Treasurer Gina Raimondo.

Bloomberg stumped for Chafee in the 2010 governor’s race calling him one of the nation’s most effective leaders. Channel 12 reports that Bloomberg is hosting a fundraiser Thursday for treasurer Gina Raimondo, who is expected to run for governor. 

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RI News
1:19 am
Tue June 18, 2013

PUC Will Hear From Public on Providence Water Rate Hike Request

The Providence Water Supply Board wants to raise rates by 24 percent for city residents and 32 percent to wholesalers.
Credit file / RIPR

The public is invited to comment Tuesday on a proposed rate increase by the Providence Water Supply Board. Because Providence sells its water to other municipalities, the rate increase would affect residents in nearly 60 percent of the state.

It’s the first rate hike in four years, and for city residents it means a 24 percent increase. The water board says that’s an additional $6.00 for the average customer.

For the cities of Warwick and East Providence, and for the Kent County and Bristol County water authorities, rates would go up 32 percent.

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Transportation
1:28 pm
Mon June 17, 2013

RI Gas Prices Hold Steady for Third Week in a Row

Drivers in Rhode Island are paying an average $3.59 for a gallon of unleaded.
Credit file / RIPR

For the third week in a row, gas prices remained unchanged in the Ocean State. Drivers are seeing prices holding steady at $3.59 a gallon for regular unleaded, according to the latest survey from AAA Southern New England.

That’s up two cents from how much a gallon of gas cost Rhode Island drivers last month. And it’s almost a dime more than drivers in Massachusetts are paying.

Bay State drivers are paying an average $3.50 a gallon for regular unleaded. That’s up a penny from last week.

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