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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Katie Mulvaney / Press pool photo

Former Cranston State Rep. Peter Palumbo pleaded not guilty Thursday to charges to embezzlement and filing a false document.

The arraignment in Providence District Court lasted about a minute. Wearing a white sweatshirt and jeans, Palumbo was led into the courtroom in handcuffs.

Palumbo, a Democrat, was arrested by State Police earlier in the day at his Cranston home.

Ian Donnis / RIPR

In the first legislative committee hearing of 2017, the Senate Judiciary Committee on Tuesday approved the appointment of Col. Ann Assumpico as head of the state's Public Safety Department.

RIPR FILE PHOTO

On Martin Luther King Jr. Day, young people from Central Falls spent their afternoon learning King’s principles of nonviolence. The group is heading to Washington, D.C. for the Women’s March on Washington later this week.

John Bender / RIPR

Former Providence State Rep. John Carnevale pleaded not guilty in Superior Court Friday to charges of perjury and filing false documents. The charges stem from an investigation into Carnevale’s residency.

The attorney general’s office alleges Carnevale lied under oath to the Providence Board of Canvassers during hearings to determine his residency. The former lawmaker owned two residences, one in Johnston and another in Providence. He maintained his primary residence was in Providence. The board eventually determined Carnevale was not eligible to represent his district.

John Bender / RIPR

Former state Representative John Carnevale is the custody of State Police, according to WPRI-TV, Channel 12. The station says Carnevale turned himself in to State Police headquarters in Scituate on Thursday, where he will be held through the night. Carnevale is scheduled to be arraigned in Superior Court Friday morning.

The charges Carnevale faces remain unclear. State police could not be reached, and Amy Kempe, spokeswoman for the attorney general, offered no comment.

RIPR FILE PHOTO

The Town Council of Charlestown has called a special meeting Tuesday. Residents are hoping to find out more about a federal proposal to expand railroads running through their rural town.

RIPR file photo

James Morales, the man who escaped a Central Falls detention facility on New Year’s Eve, appeared in court Friday for the first time since his capture outside of Boston Thursday. Morales was ordered to stay in federal custody.

John Bender / RIPR

Three correctional officers and one supervisor from the Wyatt Detention Facility are now on paid leave following the escape of prisoner James Morales. The private prison is conducting an investigation into the New Year’s Eve incident.

Elisabeth Harrison / RIPR

One day after the start of Rhode Island's new General Assembly session, a group of lawmakers, religious leaders and advocates for the poor planned to demonstrate at the Statehouse. The Rhode Island Interfaith Coalition to Reduce Poverty organizes the annual event to encourage lawmakers to take up issues affecting low-income Rhode Islanders.

Though largely ceremonial, the event is usually attended by high-ranking lawmakers, including the Governor.

Ian Donnis / RIPR

After losing a 2014 run for governor, Republican Allan Fung returned to Rhode Island's third-largest city to face a brewing scandal within his police department. His office was roundly criticized in a state police report, which provided fodder for his opponents during his most recent reelection bid. Despite that, Fung easily won with 68 percent of the vote.

Fung said infrastructure repair will be one of his major priorities during his final term.

After a streak of mild weather, winter returns Thursday, with snow and rain in the forecast.The Ocean State is likely to get more rain than snowfall.

That’s because the storm set to hit the Northeast is tracking away from us, and while central Massachusetts expects a foot or more of snow, Meteorologist Lenore Correia says the Ocean State will miss the brunt of this storm.

Narragansett tribe

Mediation could begin Wednesday, between two factions of the Narragansett Indian Tribe. The Departments of Justice and the Interior, as well as the Bureau of Indian Affairs, are helping oversee the mediation.

The two groups are at odds over leadership of the tribe. Tribe member Chastity Machado is part of the group looking to oust Chief Sachem Matthew Thomas. Machado said she believes there is widespread corruption in the management of tribal funds.

John Bender / RIPR

The Providence Police are defending their policy on police officer body cameras. Some advocates, including the ACLU, have called for footage from the cameras to be made available to the public. City police say the decision will be made on a case-by-case basis.

The local chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union has raised objections to the body camera policy. They say it will require a public records request to see the footage. That request could be blocked in the case of an ongoing police investigation.

Elisabeth Harrison / RIPR

The State Council on Elementary and Post-Secondary Education voted Tuesday to allow a major proposed expansion of the charter school system, Achievement First, in Providence. The Connecticut-based organization could potentially grow by more than 2,000 students.

Achievement First currently operates two elementary schools in the capital city, with about 700 students. The group is hoping to expand that to three elementary schools, two middle schools, and a high school, increasing enrollment to more than 3,000.

John Bender / RIPR

The Rhode Island chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union has penned a letter to the Providence City Council, urging them to veto the purchase of body cameras for city police. While the organization is in favor of the cameras, RI ACLU head Steve Brown said the police department hasn’t offered a clear path for public access to the footage.

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