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. 

Ways to Connect

John Bender / RIPR

City Councilors meeting in Providence Tuesday evening will consider a plan to redevelop the Providence waterfront.  They could vote to move forward with an effort to revamp some 300 acres.

The redevelopment area stretches along the lower Providence waterfront, from about Thurbers Avenue south to Fields Point. It would transfer control of the land to the Providence Redevelopment Agency, the city organization that works to improve blighted areas in the city. The plan would also fund environmental cleanup of the site, much of which is heavily contaminated. 

John Bender / RIPR

The Rhode Island school of Design in Providence has reached a contract agreement with the Technicians’ Union.  The union’s 44 members began a public strike last Thursday.

By Friday dozens of students had joined the 44 workers in picket lines around the campus.  RISD’s technicians operate ceramics, metal working, and glass studios, among others.  The Technicians’ union alleged that they get fewer benefits than other faculty, and that RISD walked away from negotiations. School officials say the union rejected the contract they offered.

Wikimedia Commons

The house finance committee is set to hear testimony this week regarding portions of the proposed state budget. The agenda includes the so-called “Taylor Swift Tax.”

It’s known that way because of the pop singer who owns a multi-million dollar vacation home in Westerly… the budget article proposes a property tax on vacation homes worth more than one million dollars.

John Bender / RIPR

Providence police have concluded their investigation into a public bus accident that resulted in the death of a nine-year old girl.  Investigators do not believe the accident was the result of operator error by the bus driver.

                                  

RIPR FILE

Senator Jack Reed is extending cautious response to a potential nuclear agreement between Iran and world powers. Reed is the ranking Democrat on the Senate Armed Services Committee.

In a statement, Reed says serious challenges remain on the road to a contract preventing Iran from building a nuclear weapon. Reed is supportive of a deal, saying it’s in the best interest of national security.

He encourages negotiators to continue their diplomatic work, imploring them to be as transparent possible. 

John Bender / RIPR

The new owners of the Pawtucket Red Sox hosted a walking tour Thursday of the proposed site for a new stadium in Providence. The owners want to move the team from Pawtucket, but there are questions about their plan.

The new owners group wants to build a 10-thousand seat baseball stadium, on a piece of former highway land near downtown Providence. Some of that land was set aside for a public park.  But the owners say it’s ideal for a stadium because of its central location, close to amenities and public transit.

John Bender / RIPR

The State Supreme Court has disbarred former house Speaker Gordon Fox. Fox recently pleaded guilty to several counts of public corruption.

Fox acknowledged that he would lose his license to practice law when he accepted a plea deal for the corruption charges.  In March he pleaded guilty to charges of misspent campaign funds, and accepting a bribe for 52-thousand dollars.

In addition to losing his license and house seat, state education officials rescinded his honorary degree from his Alma Mater Rhode Island College.

John Bender / RIPR

A Superior Court judge has set a timeline to move forward with a settlement in the court case over the state pension overhaul.

The agreement still needs approval from the General Assembly, and it would not completely end the long-running legal dispute. The deal would cost taxpayers roughly $32 million more each year to pay for pension costs, while preserving, according to Governor Gina Raimondo, about 90 percent of the savings from the pension overhaul she spearheaded in 2011.

RIPR FILE

A Brown University graduate student is dead after an apparent suicide.

South Korean Hyoun Ju Sohn was a first year doctoral student in the Brown Physics Program.  Sohn fell or leapt from the university’s science library Tuesday.  The multi-story building sits in the heart of the school’s Providence campus. Police responded to the scene a little after noon. 

RIPR FILE

As the weather warms up, gas prices are down in the state.  A gallon of regular unleaded is down four cents from last week.

That puts the price at $2.36 per gallon.  The current price is six cents lower than the national average.  A year ago the price for the same gallon of regular unleaded was $1.23 cents higher. 

To the north, gas prices in Massachusetts remain unchanged from last week. Regular unleaded will set you back $2.32 cents per gallon in the Bay State.  That’s ten cents less than the national average.

John Bender / RIPR

Local leaders have announced the launch of a statewide task force to deal with sexual assaults on college campuses. The issue has been getting increased national attention in recent years.

The task force is comprised of local law enforcement, medical professionals, and representatives from Rhode Island colleges and universities.  They’re tasked with developing new policies to better handle sexual assaults involving college students.  Often, colleges deal with sexual assault internally, and law enforcement is not involved unless a victim wishes to press charges.

John Bender / RIPR

Friday marks the start of the NCAA Division 1 Men’s hockey tournament. Four tournaments will take place across this country this weekend.  Providence plays host to one of the events.

Providence’s tournament is the East Regional semifinals. The first games don’t start until the weekend at the Dunkin’ Donuts Center.

The teams involved include Providence College, Boston College, Miami University of Ohio, and the University of Denver.  PC will face Miami Saturday at 6p.m.

John Bender / RIPR

Police are investigating a fatal accident involving a Rhode Island Public Transit Authority bus. The bus struck and killed a nine-year-old girl in Providence on Thursday morning.

RIPTA says the accident happened on Smith Street at approximately 8:40 a.m., just blocks from the Rhode Island Statehouse. 

A bus traveling away from downtown Providence hit the girl, who was on foot. Police say she died of her injuries. 

Television, 1st Edition/Museum of Broadcast Communications

  The Rhode Island Radio Hall of Fame has announced this year’s inductees.  Legendary CBS journalist Fred Friendly is on the list.

Friendly, who passed away in 1998, got his start in broadcast journalism in Rhode Island.  After graduating from Hope High School in Providence, he went on to work at radio station WEAN.

Friendly moved onto television at CBS, where he created the news documentary program with Edward R. Murrow, See It Now. Rhode Island Radio Hall of Fame spokeswoman Debbie Rich said the show was groundbreaking.

Wikimedia Commons

Lawmakers will consider legislation today that would up the legal age to purchase cigarettes and other tobacco products. Rhode Islanders can currently start buying cigarettes at age 18. 

The new legislation would bar people under the age of 21 from buying cigarettes, or any other tobacco related products.  That includes cigars, chewing tobacco, and the increasingly popular e-cigarettes.

The House Committee on health, education and welfare is taking up the bill.

Pages