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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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.

RIPR FILE PHOTO

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.

RIPR FILE PHOTO

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.

RIPR FILE

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.

RIPR FILE PHOTO

The Providence City Council is expected to vote on the new city budget tonight. The $376 million proposal includes an increase in spending for the city’s schools.

RIPR FILE PHOTO

Providence city councilors will soon vote on a new budget that would increase spending on public schools for the first time in seven years. The district wants to use some of that money to improve its struggling middle schools.

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement / Department of Homeland Security

Immigration authorities have arrested a man they identified as a Syrian national who was in this country illegally outside the Providence County Superior Courthouse. ICE spokesman Shawn Neudauer said the man, Abdulkhalek Darwich, came to the United States lawfully in 1998 but overstayed his visa.

Darwich was detained on June 1st following a required court appearance. He faces criminal charges in a case involving the sale of cigarettes without a state tax stamp.  

RIPR FILE PHOTO

The capital city is one step closer to a new budget for the upcoming fiscal year. The Providence City Finance Committee approved the amended spending plan Monday.

RIPR FILE PHOTO

The Providence City Council begins public hearings Monday on the new proposed city budget, as the state’s largest city continues to struggle to close long-term deficits.

John Bender / RIPR

Providence Mayor Jorge Elorza has signed the Police-Community Relations Act, a major effort to address concerns about city police. It took more than three years to get the measure passed.

The Police-Community Relations Act took shape thanks in large part to a dedicated group of supporters who refused to let the measure die. They framed it as an effort to tamp down on police profiling based on race, gender, and sexuality.

RIPR File Photo

The Providence City Council passed a controversial community policing ordinance Thursday night, known as the Providence Community-Police Relations Act. The measure, which increases protections against police profiling and codifies how police use body cameras, passed overwhelmingly with a 13-1 vote.

RIPR FILE PHOTO

Thursday the Providence City Council votes on a community policing ordinance intended to reduce police profiling. Advocates have been working on the Community Safety Act for several years, and they were disappointed last month, when the Providence City Council tabled the measure in response to opposition from the police officers’ union.

Elisabeth Harrison

Tourists, residents and downtown workers alike stopped to gaze open-mouthed at the sight of performers suspended from a multi-story building in downtown Providence on Wednesday.

RIPR File Photo

Cranston Mayor Allan Fung is calling on Providence to halt plans to reroute traffic on a road near the Cranston border. Fung hosted a community forum on the proposed change Tuesday evening.

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