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

Fans lined the streets of downtown Providence Tuesday before a Patriots rally at the Dunkin’ Donuts Center. Thousands of people stood in the rain, waiting for their chance to catch a glimpse of the Super Bowl champions and the Super Bowl trophy.

In a line that ran for at least three blocks, fan Mike Cote from Warwick said he came to celebrate the team’s entire season, and, of course, their historic come-from-behind win at the Super Bowl.

John Bender / RIPR

King’s Tabernacle Church took the town of Johnston to court last year after town officials appeared to be trying to block the congregation from moving into a long-abandoned building in town. The church, whose congregation is small and largely African American, cited racial bias. But today the community is thriving in the heart of one of the most Italian, Catholic areas of the state.

John Bender

At a time of increasing debate over racial, religious and political divides, Rhode Islanders share their experiences of reaching beyond the differences that keep many communities apart.

In this ongoing series, we meet people like Adewole Akinbi and Heather Gaydos, whose professional relationship has evolved into something more like family after the death of a co-worker. We also meet a former gang member, Jose Rodriguez, who has become friends with the Providence police officer who once hassled him on the streets.

John Bender / RIPR

Providence Mayor Jorge Elorza touted new planned investments and the city’s increasingly stable financial footing during his annual State of the City address Wednesday night. Elorza announced that Providence would have its first rainy day fund since 2011 at the end of this fiscal year.

Elorza also recognized the city faces steep financial challenges. The city owes hundreds of millions of dollars in unfunded pension liabilities. 

Snow is coming down across the Ocean State. The storm is likely to make for a messy evening commute.

The National Weather Service has issued a hazardous weather outlook for Rhode Island, as well as parts of Massachusetts and Connecticut. Weather Service meteorologist Bill Simpson says Rhode Islanders can expect about 2 to 4 inches of snow.

“Light to moderate snow through the evening commute into the evening. After that tapers off, might be some light snow early in the morning, but the brunt of it will be over at that point,” said Simpson.


The Republican Mayor of Cranston, Allan Fung, is breaking party ranks to criticize President Donald Trump’s executive order on immigration. Fung has accused Trump of acting too hastily in imposing a temporary ban on travel from several Muslim-majority countries.

John Bender / RIPR

According to a report from the Rhode Island chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union, some legal registered voters in the state were unable to vote. The organization says this highlights flaws in the state’s voter ID laws.

Ambar Espinoza / RIPR

Virtually all Rhode Islanders have at least a loose connection to the town of Johnston. Almost all of your junk -- trash, dried out Christmas trees, even used paint -- winds up at the Johnston Landfill.  Those items are all sorted and processed in different parts of the sprawling complex.

Nate Mooney

The American Civil Liberties Union of Rhode Island is adding its voice to a growing chorus of criticism for President Donald Trump’s executive orders on immigration. Rhode Island ACLU head Steve Brown said his group plans to propose legislation to fight the orders, which could be adopted by state lawmakers.

John Bender / RIPR

Members of the Providence City Council passed a resolution formally opposing plans by the town of Johnston to sell water from the capital city to a proposed power plant in Burrillville. The deal is controversial because Johnston purchases water from Providence.

The resolution is largely ceremonial, and councilors heard from legal counsel, who advised there is little that can hamper the deal. Providence City Solicitor Jeffery Dana says the city is compelled to provide water to Johnston as part of a 1915 state law.

John Bender / RIPR

Gov. Gina Raimondo's position statement came as a welcome surprise to dozens of protestors gathered at the Statehouse Wednesday.

Residents and lawmakers had crammed into the Statehouse rotunda to protest federal plans to move rail infrastructure in parts of Charlestown and Westerly. Then, Charlestown Town Councilor Virginia Lee told the crowd the governor agreed with them.

Ian Donnis / RIPR

Rhode Island Secretary of State Nellie Gorbea is joining a growing chorus of lawmakers responding to claims by President Donald Trump that millions of people voted illegally.


A special Providence City Council committee meeting will be held tonight to vote on a resolution opposing plans by Johnston to sell water to energy company Invenergy. The water is crucial for a controversial power plant proposed for Burrillville.

Over the past few months, Burrillville and Woonsocket have turned down bids from Invenergy to buy municipal water for the power plant project. Johnston accepted the company’s offer. However Johnston buys its water from Providence Water, a quasi-public city agency.  


Students at Rhode Island College reacted to Governor Gina Raimondo’s free tuition plan this week. The governor’s higher education proposal would cover the cost of tuition for in-state students for the first two years at the Community College of Rhode Island, or the last two years at the University of Rhode Island and Rhode Island College.