John Bender

Reporter

John started at RIPR in 2013 as the Morning Edition producer; researching stories, interviewing newsmakers, and writing scripts for stories every morning.  Plus special projects and regular reporting on major events.  In early 2017 he was promoted to "general assignment" reporter.  Whatever's happening in the news today?  That's what John is covering. 

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URI

Police at the University of Rhode Island say more than a dozen cars have been vandalized over the last two weeks on the school’s campus in Kingston.

A total of 14 vehicles have had swastikas or pornographic images scratched into them. Some of the vehicles sustained additional damage including broken mirrors and slashed tires.

URI Chief of Police Stephen Baker says so far, police are still looking for a suspect.

Courtesy RI Department of Motor Vehicles

Maybe you’ve already heard of something called Real ID. If not, you probably will soon. In the coming years, Real ID will affect how you board airplanes or walk into a federal building.

So what is it?

It’s a new designation for identification, like state IDs or driver’s licenses. Real ID is actually a federal law that sets national security standards for ID cards. The law was passed in 2005 as part of recommendations from the 9/11 Commission.

Lynn Arditi / RIPR

CharterCare, the local arm of a California-based for-profit hospital company, announced Wednesday it would like to purchase the now-closed Memorial Hospital in Pawtucket. Memorial shut its doors in 2017, after years of losing money.

Rhode Island Secretary of State Nellie Gorbea says her office is making progress on security and public access to voting. The state is working with the Department of Homeland Security to protect against hacking of voter systems. Rhode Island has also adopted new technology meant to streamline voting and guard voter information.

Gorbea says the need to protect voting systems now the norm in the U.S. and Rhode Island.

“Cybersecurity is not a destination, but a continually evolving road that requires constant attention to mitigate risk,” said Gorbea.

John Bender / RIPR

Lilian Calderon, the Rhode Island woman who was detained by federal immigration officials for nearly a month is now the lead plaintiff in a class-action lawsuit against President Donald Trump and his administration.

John Bender / RIPR

For decades, Liberian refugees were allowed to live and work in the U.S. following the Liberian Civil War of the 1990s. President Donald Trump announced the end of that policy in March, giving protected Liberians just one year to prepare for deportation.

Liberians living in Southern New England are confused and disappointed. The Whitehouse says the Liberian policy is no longer necessary, because country is stable after years of war and the 2014 Ebola outbreak. But local Liberians disagree.

John Bender / RIPR

Thousands of Liberian refugees living in the United States have one year left before they face deportation.

RIPR File

Rhode Island lawmakers are considering a bill that would allow DACA recipients to get drivers licenses and work permits, even if their federal status expires.

John Bender / RIPR

DelSesto Middle School in Providence is one of more than a dozen schools across Rhode Island using new computer software in the classroom, designed with help from Facebook. 

John Bender

On the West Side of Providence, streets were mainly quiet as snow fell and wind howled through the trees. Many businesses shut down, and plenty of residents stayed warm and dry indoors. But the sidewalks were scattered with more than a dozen snowblowers and shovelers.

John Bender / RIPR

Across the nation, students walked out of their classes Wednesday, imploring lawmakers to take action on gun control. 

First The Storm, Now The Cleanup... Again

Mar 13, 2018
John Bender

The third winter storm this month knocked out power to tens of thousands of residents and businesses, closed schools and state offices, and dropped more than foot of snow in some parts of Rhode Island and the South Coast. Blizzard conditions were confirmed in some areas, including Newport.

RIPR FILE

Rhode Island lawmakers are re-considering the rules for reporting sexual abuse suspected of school staff. A 2016 law requires educators to report allegations of abuse to child welfare officials.

Lynn Arditi / RIPR

At the peak, nearly 150,000 customers in Rhode Island were without power. The vast majority were restored by Monday morning.

Talia Blake / RIPR

Rhode Island is the first state in the nation to establish a “red flag” policy since the deadly high school shooting in Parkland, Florida earlier this month that killed 17 students and teachers. 

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