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

Catherine Welch / RIPR

The U.S. Secretary of the Interior was in Rhode Island Friday touring parts of the Blackstone River Valley National Heritage Corridor. The visit highlighted a push to make the corridor part of the National Park System.

The Rhode Island Turnpike and Bridge Authority said it’s not surprised that a federal judge refused to issue a restraining order to block tolling of the Sakonnet River Bridge.

Because tolling wasn’t part of the original construction plan approved by the Federal Highway Administration, the state had to go back and amend its environmental impact statement. The Town of Portsmouth filed a lawsuit, saying the amended impact statement is flawed. Chairman for the Rhode Island Turnpike and Bridge Authority, David Darlington, said he’s confident the paperwork was properly filed.

The Rhode Island Senate has approved legislation that hikes the state’s minimum wage to $8 an hour.

When Rhode Island’s minimum wage jumped from to $7.40 to $7.75 on January 1st, it was the first raise the state had given minimum wage workers in five years. Now lawmakers are looking at bumping it up again to $8 an hour.

That would match Massachusetts’ minimum wage but come under Vermont’s at $8.60 an hour.

file / RIPR

A handful of open government groups are urging Gov. Lincoln Chafee to block legislation that would shroud school safety plans in secrecy. 

There is still no word from a University of Rhode Island student who’s been missing since Thursday.

21-year-old Matthew Royer was last seen leaving his apartment in Rhode Island on Thursday, he was heading back home to southeastern PA where he was supposed to start a job on Friday.

URI officials say the university reached out to Royer’s family on Saturday.

Hollywood actor Richard Jenkins and his wife will return to Trinity Rep next year to co-direct the musical Oliver.

Richard Jenkins is best known for his role in HBO’s Six Feet Under and the 2008 film “The Visitor.” But before he hit it big in Hollywood Jenkins and his wife Sharon were part of Trinity Rep – she was a choreographer and he was an actor and later the artistic director.

The couple will return next season to co-direct the musical “Oliver.” Trinity Rep’s artistic director Curt Columbus said audiences can expect to see a smart production.

Twenty businesses in Rhode Island received grants from the state to help pay for employee training.

The Governor’s Workforce Board doled out $60,000 worth of matching grants to help businesses pay for training. Employers can either match the $5,000 grants or provide an approved internship to cut their match in half.

This round of grants will help pay for training in such areas as medical billing, software training and welding technology. The governor calls the grants ideal for small businesses.

Staring down a July 1st deadline, lawmakers on Capitol Hill are looking at ways to control the costs of federal student loans. Senator Jack Reed is behind a measure that would overhaul how student loan interest rates are calculated.

Reed and a handful of democrats in Congress are pushing legislation that offers adjustable rates and caps the maximum interest rates on federal loans. The bill also allows borrowers stuck with high interest rates to refinance.

Scientists at the Northeast Fisheries Science Center said they hope to get some answers from a necropsy being done on a huge basking shark that washed ashore at Misquamicut Beach over the weekend.

Nancy Kohler, a scientist at the center, said the 28.5-foot long shark was a mature male, in good condition, and it’s unclear why it washed up dead. Her research team is doing a necropsy on the shark, on the beach, and she said that’s drawing a lot of attention.

The state Senate is set to vote Wednesday on bills to legalize same-sex marriage in Rhode Island. Advocates are continuing to press their case before the vote.

Supporters were overjoyed when the Senate Judiciary Committee approved two same-sex marriage bills. The head of Rhode Islanders United for Marriage, Ray Sullivan, says advocates aren’t taking anything for granted.

“Our work is not done, we continue to work the phones, knock doors, make calls, do all the things we’ve been doing the last several months that have led us to this moment,” said Sullivan.

Ian Donnis / RIPR

The Senate Judiciary Committee passed a bill legalizing same-sex marriage on a 7 – 4 vote. A bill putting the issue up for referendum was defeated by a 6 – 5 vote.

The vote was greeted with jubilation by same sex marriage supporters gathered in a Statehouse hearing room. Supporters say they’re hopeful the committee vote signals full Senate approval. The bill will go to a full Senate vote Wednesday.

Reaction to the Vote

Gov. Lincoln Chafee says the legislature has to pass a bill legalizing same-sex marriage. The governor’s comment comes a day before the Senate Judiciary Committee is scheduled to vote on a slate of same-sex marriage bills.

Senator Jack Reed and Governor Lincoln Chafee are asking Congress to pass legislation that allows state to collect taxes from online purchasing. 

Senator Jack Reed is a co-sponsor of the “Marketplace Fairness Act,” which would open the door for states to collect sales taxes from online retailers.  Right now it’s up to shoppers to pony up when filing their income taxes.

Catherine Welch / RIPR

The family of the Rhode Island woman who was married to one of the suspected bombers is not commenting to reporters waiting Saturday outside their North Kingstown home.

The blinds are drawn, curtains pulled at the khaki colored, two-story house on the corner of the leafy cul-de-sac. The family of Katherine Russell had been living quietly in this North Kingstown neighborhood until the connection was made that Katherine was married and has a child with Tamerlan Tsarnaev, who died in a shoot-out early Friday.

RIPR

The Rhode Island Public Transit Authority is asking riders to chime in on proposed changes to the bus system. RIPTA is looking at everything from removing bus lines to changing the look of its major hub in downtown Providence.

Facing a yawning budget gap, RIPTA’s been taking a hard look at operations. Its proposed changes include adding routes, eliminating some, and better coordinating others.

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