John Bender


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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John Bender / RIPR

Behind every great pianist, is a page-turner. And at the Newport Music festival – which turns 50 next year – that person is Elmer Booze.

Avory Brookins / RIPR

A few dozen demonstrators gathered outside the Rhode Island Convention center where the National Governor’s Association meeting is going on this weekend in downtown Providence. The group protested the arrival of Vice President Mike Pence, as the White House attempts to repeal and replace Obamacare.

Ryan Caron King / RIPR

Residents in Rhode Island’s and Connecticut’s coastal communities are cheering the Federal Railroad Administration's decision to back away from a controversial rail plan that would have re-routed a section of the Northeast Corridor through historic towns and important ecosystems along New England’s southern coast.

Elisabeth Harrison / RIPR

Providence holds a primary Wednesday in a special election for the City Council seat vacated by Kevin Jackson.


Gallison was sentenced to more than four years in prison after pleading guilty to nine different counts, including mail and wire fraud, filing false tax returns and identity theft. All those charges added up to 51 months of prison time for the one-time leader of the powerful Rhode Island House Finance Committee.

Ian Donnis / RIPR

State government will not shut down, even as Rhode Island moves into a new fiscal year without a new budget. Lawmakers in Rhode Island’s House and Senate failed to pass a budget before abruptly ending the General Assembly session last week.

Gov. Gina Raimondo said state departments will continue to operate following last year’s fiscal budget. Raimondo said the plan will work in the short term, but the state will soon owe money it hasn’t yet allocated for a variety of promised payouts.


Think of the world’s most famous concert venues: Carnegie Hall, the Paris Opera House, Royal Albert Hall. Well, you may be able to add another name to that list: Rogers High School Auditorium in Newport.

This summer, the Rogers stage will hold some of the biggest names in modern classical music.


The Providence Public School district is reviewing safety protocols, after school administrators failed to report allegations of sexual abuse by a teacher to the state Department of Children Youth and Families.

John Bender / RIPR

A legislative commission studying the use of solitary confinement in Rhode Island prisons reported back to lawmakers Thursday. The group also made recommendations to reform the practice, which critics say can create lasting mental health issues in the prison population.

Ted Eytan / Creative Commons License By 2.0

Local immigration lawyers say questions remain about portions of the president’s temporary ban on travel from six majority-Muslim countries, reinstated this week by the U.S. Supreme Court.

Courtesy of Whitehouse Office

Rhode Island’s U.S. Senators are weighing in on the Republican health care proposal, unveiled publicly for the first time Thursday. The legislation is the culmination of a years-long attempt by Republican lawmakers to repeal with Obamacare, which they say has driven up health care costs for Americans.


Providence Police arrested a former public bus driver, accused of stealing bus fares. The driver has been charged with felony embezzlement.

Dank Depot / Flickr/ Creative Commons License

Once again, Rhode Island lawmakers are considering bills to legalize recreational marijuana. One of those bills wound up with a number that will have special meaning for anyone familiar with pot-smoking subculture.


The private Gordon School in East Providence has opened an investigation into allegations of sexual assault dating to the 1970s. 

According to a brief statement issued by the current head of school, the allegations involve several former students and a former faculty member. The school says no current administrators, faculty or staff were employed at the school at that time.

The school says law enforcement has been contacted, though it is unclear whether any criminal investigation has begun.


Former Rhode Island House Finance Chairman Ray Gallison has been sentenced to more than four years in prison. Gallison pleaded guilty to nine counts including mail fraud, wire fraud, filing false tax returns, and identity theft.

Gallison, a Democrat from Bristol, was one of the most powerful members in the General Assembly before he resigned his post in May of last year. He took more than $660,000 to enrich himself, from a variety of sources, including the estate of a deceased man and money meant for an education nonprofit.