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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RIPR FILE

Providence Mayor Jorge Elorza and mayors from across the nation spent part of Wednesday in Washington D.C. meeting with Department of Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly. The group gathered to discuss illegal immigration, and the role of local law enforcement.

RIPR FILE

President Donald Trump’s executive orders on energy could have big impacts on states producing fossil fuels. But the order could still affect the Ocean State’s goals to reduce greenhouse gases.

Rhode Island has set the ambitious goal to reduce carbon emissions in the state 45 percent below the state’s emissions levels of 1990. Rhode Island will likely maintain that goal no matter what comes out of the Whitehouse.

Courtesy: General Dynamics Electric Boat

Rhode Island has struggled with a lagging economy for years. Though the state is still behind its New England neighbors by some measures, there are bright spots. The defense industry is one of them.

RIPR File Photo

PA report from the city’s Advisory Council to Reduce Gun Violence released Monday says in 2016 Providence saw its fewest homicides in 30 years. 

After President Donald Trump promised a crackdown on undocumented immigrants, many expressed a fear of leaving their house, going to work, or shopping. But some local Catholic Churches are seeing an uptick in attendance at their Spanish language masses

RIPR File Photo

The Providence Housing Authority will no longer automatically disqualify housing applicants with criminal convictions. Advocates say the longstanding policy hurt people trying to reenter society.

Under the new policy applicants for housing with a criminal history will be considered on a case by case basis. Old policy denied people with criminal histories up to ten years prior outright. The look-back period into an applicant’s background is now reduced from 10 years to five.

Victor Casale / Creative Commons License via flickr

The Providence Housing Authority Board of Commissioners meets Thursday. The group is expected to consider changes to policy that bars housing applicants with criminal convictions. Advocates say current policy is unfair.

Ximena Conde / RIPR

The city of Providence and the state’s Department of Corrections both appear on a list released by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security as being uncooperative with federal immigration enforcement.

A detainee at the Wyatt Detention Facility in Central Falls was found unresponsive in his cell Monday. The detainee, Nelson Romero was pronounced dead at Memorial Hospital in Pawtucket. Romero was placed at Wyatt by U.S. marshals from Connecticut. He was arrested on March 16 on a federal criminal complaint charging him with conspiracy to distribute one kilogram or more of heroin.

Officials are awaiting an autopsy from the medical examiner. A spokesperson for the privately run detention facility says foul play is not suspected.

RIPR FILE

Affordable housing programs could see their federal support drastically reduced, if President Donald Trump’s proposed budget passes. That would mean millions of dollars in aid lost for the Ocean State.

John Bender / RIPR

Italian-American enclaves around the country celebrated St. Joseph’s day Sunday. This holiday comes with its own culinary tradition – a luscious pastry called a zeppole.

In the kitchen at La Salle Bakery in Providence Rhode Island – a state where zeppole are famous -- a team of bakers furiously prepare. They know lines will be forming to snap up this seasonal treat.

John Bender / RIPR

Since 1997, the nonprofit Community MusicWorks has provided Providence-area children with classical music lessons in violin, viola, and cello. 

JAMES BAUMGARTNER / RIPR

As snow turned to freezing rain across parts of the state Tuesday, some people braved the precipitation and strong winds.

Kristin Gourlay / RIPR FILE

A group of lawmakers and personnel from the State Department of Corrections is expected to recommend changes in the use of solitary confinement soon. Advocates hope to see the practice abolished. A.T. Wall, the head of Rhode Island’s Department of Corrections, says he hopes to see a reduction in the use of solitary confinement.

“I would like to see that day come, and I recognize that there’s still a lot of work to be done, said Wall. “We’re taking advantage of the newest thinking, which is mostly incentive based, as opposed to punitive for example.”

John Bender / RIPR

A group of lawmakers gather Thursday to discuss proposals to change the use of solitary confinement in Rhode Island’s prison system. 

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