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

After the Parkland school shooting, many people are wondering whether elected officials will take action on gun control. A small group of Democratic Governors say they have a plan to do just that, even if there is no movement on the issue in Congress.

John Bender / RIPR

The film “Black Panther” is breaking records at the box office, thanks in part to fans excited to see a black superhero take center stage. And there’s a local effort underway to bring hundreds of Newport schoolchildren to see the movie.

Elisabeth Harrison / RIPR

Across Southern New England, people ventured outside without jackets and scarves Wednesday, as temperatures climbed to record-breaking highs in some places.

According to the National Weather Service, Providence broke the record for February 21st around 2 p.m., when the mercury hit 64 degrees.

But National Weather Service meteorologist Nicole Belk said the balmy weather was still a ways away from breaking the monthly record.

Natalie Cioffari / WSHU

Connecticut’s largest city has begun a pilot program to test body cameras for its police officers.

Bridgeport joins Rhode Island cities that have started outfitting police officers with body cameras. In Providence, patrol officers began wearing the cameras in 2017 after a pilot program. Some Newport police officers have also been equipped with body cameras.

RIPR FILE

In a win for historic preservationists, Brown University is changing its plans for a new performing arts center. The proposal for a new building drew the ire of some community members in the city.

RIPR FIle Photo

Tuesday marked the 15th anniversary of the deadly Station Nightclub Fire in West Warwick- the 2003 blaze which claimed 100 lives. This was the first anniversary survivors and their loved ones have had access to a memorial at the site.

Elisabeth Harrison / RIPR

The deadly school shooting in Florida last week highlighted concerns over how schools protect teachers and students. The Ocean State mandates school safety plans, in coordination with multiple agencies.

State law requires all public schools to create such plans with the State department of emergency management, state police and the state fire marshal. Those plans are required to include procedures for evacuation, sheltering and addressing medical needs.

Gerard Donnelly / Creative Commons License via flickr

The utility announced last year they would seek a general rate hike, for gas and electric utilities. The original proposal called for an increase in gas rates by about five percent and electric by about six percent. The company now says those numbers will be less, accounting for savings under the new federal tax law.

That didn’t stop some dozen people from criticizing the company for the proposed increase during a public hearing in front of the Public Utilities Commission. A small crowd gathered at Pawtucket City Hall, to voice their concerns over the potential increase.

John Bender / RIPR

Lilian Calderon spent her first night with her family in Rhode Island after being detained for nearly a month by federal immigration authorities in Massachusetts. 

Tenants say the high cost of rent and poor living conditions are driving some Providence renters out of their homes. 

In a city where more than half the population rents, some Providence tenants say they feel powerless when landlords raise the rent unexpectedly or neglect problems in their homes.

John Bender / RIPR

The Port of New Bedford is often touted as the most lucrative in North America. That’s thanks mainly to the popularity, and apparent abundance, of scallops. But the success of scallops may be masking hard times for other parts of the fishing industry.

John Bender / RIPR

Do you have a favorite book? Maybe it’s a novel you read again and again. But has a work of fiction ever inspired your vacation plans? New Bedford is the destination for devotees of one famous literary leviathan.

John Bender / RIPR

A Grand Jury found no police officers broke the law during a fatal shootout last November. Providence and State Police have promised to review their policies after the shooting.

Chuck Hinman / RIPR

The state attorney general’s office continues to investigate the officer-involved shooting that resulted in the death of a civilian last November.

The shootout along interstate 95 involved officers from State and Providence Police. It came after a standoff with a suspected related to the theft of a State Police cruiser. Both departments conducted their own investigations.

State police told RIPR they wrapped up their investigation in December, and have turned the results over to the Rhode Island Attorney General.

Providence elementary school principal Violet LeMar is appealing the guilty verdict handed down Monday for failing to report allegations of sexual assault at her school. LeMar is the first educator to be found guilty under a new state reporting law.

The new law was adopted in 2016, and requires educators to notify DCYF within 24 hours of abuse allegations at schools. LeMar, principal at Harry Kizirian elementary school in Providence, was accused of initiating an internal investigation when allegations of abuse of students by a gym teacher came to light.

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