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. 

Ways to Connect

John Bender / RIPR

That’s about a two percent increase overall from the current year budget. 

Ian Donnis / RIPR File Photo

Providence Mayor Jorge Elorza unveils the city’s latest budget proposal Wednesday, and it comes as the city continues to face deep financial challenges.


The Coastal Resources Center at the University of Rhode Island has launched the state Shellfish Management Initiative as shellfish continue to be a growing area in the state’s fishing industry.

The Providence-based arts nonprofit New Urban Arts celebrates its 20th anniversary this weekend. The organization is a community art studio which provides free fine arts and music instruction to Providence students.

Executive director Dan Schleifer said since its founding in 1997, some 3,000 city students have taken part in the organization. He said some of those students have gone on to careers in the arts.


In Newport, volunteers are gathering on the city’s Cliff Walk to clean up the tourist attraction and the ocean access points near it. The event is organized by the Aquidneck Island-based nonprofit Clean Ocean Access.

Clean Ocean Access director Dave McLaughlin says the group has collected some 50 tons of trash during area beach cleanups over the last decade.


The Providence-based hospital organization Care New England has signed a letter of intent to merge with the Boston-based organization Partners HealthCare, Care NE announced Wednesday.


This week, Democratic National Committee Chairman Tom Perez and U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders kicked off a nationwide tour hoping to energize Democrats ahead of mid-term elections in 2018.

They also want to reach out to progressives upset with President Donald Trump’s victory last November and disappointed with the Democratic Party.  In Rhode Island some progressive women are getting engaged for the first time and trying to find their political voices.

The Providence City Council Ordinance Committee has voted to send a downtown smoking ban to the full council. The ordinance would prohibit smoking in a roughly nine-block area in front of Kennedy Plaza and City Hall.

Community advocates say the policy is targeted at the homeless. That’s because  they say previous bans on smoking in nearby park and bus terminals have pushed homeless onto the surrounding sidewalks.

John Bender / RIPR

The city of Providence is launching a new program to help ex-offenders stay out of prison. Former inmates face numerous hurdles once they return to life on the outside, including barriers to jobs and housing.

This new program tackles one of those hurdles by offering job training skills to newly released inmates. Rhodes to Employment will be paid for with a $500,000 federal grant, from the U.S. Department of Labor. The 12-week program will offer training in areas like applying for jobs, interviewing, and obtaining health insurance.

John Bender / RIPR

The Providence City Council Ordinance Committee voted 5-0 to send the lengthy ordinance, known as the Community Safety Act, to the full council for a vote. 

Ian Donnis / RIPR

A spokeswoman for the State Police confirmed the investigation Thursday. In March, a grand jury subpoenaed the city of Providence for Aponte’s payroll information. The city complied with the request, according to a spokeswoman for the city.

The move comes after the state Board of Elections referred to the attorney general’s office last September a lengthy report about Aponte’s finances.

Investigators have not specified the nature of the probe. State Police confirmed the investigation, but declined to comment further.

Courtesy of RI DMV

The state of Rhode Island has settled with technology company DXC Technology over the mismanagement of a major computer system overhaul.

The state contracted the company to replace aging technology at the Department of Motor Vehicles. DXC Technology has agreed to a July rollout of the computer upgrade.

John Bender / RIPR

Opening day at McCoy Stadium in Pawtucket is a sure sign of warm weather to come. 

John Bender / RIPR

In Providence, advocates of the so-called Community Safety Act have advanced a revised version of the city ordinance they say aims to improve police and community relations.

John Bender / RIPR

Fishing has long been a staple industry in Rhode Island. Over the last century ever more local seafood is shipped across the country and the globe.