Nate Mooney

Intern

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John Bender / RIPR

A small group gathered in Warwick at the state Republican Party's headquarters to watch Friday's inauguration ceremony for President Donald Trump.

Woonsocket Police Department

Woonsocket resident Dondi Willis, 47, collapsed at the Woonsocket Police Station Monday morning while awaiting transport to court. Woonsocket emergency personnel brought Willis to Landmark Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead. 

Police said Willis had no struggle with officers prior to his collapse.

The Rhode Island State Police and the Rhode Island Attorney General are investigating the death. Woonsocket authorities say it is standard procedure to conduct an investigation after anyone dies in police custody.

Courtesy of Council on American Islamic Relations

A Muslim community center in Kingston was the target of vandalism, in what may be a response to an apparent terrorist attack in Nice, France.

Wikimedia Commons

Rhode Island won’t have many peaches on local fruit stands this summer. Cold temperatures in February killed most of the flowers on the state’s peach trees. University of Rhode Island plant scientist Heather Faubert said this year, the peach trees didn’t have time to adjust to the cold.

“The very cold temperatures came all of a sudden,” said Faubert. “Throughout November and December and January it was quite warm, and then we got to February and the temperatures dropped suddenly and that’s what killed the crop.”

Elisabeth Harrison / RIPR

Several state lawmakers are making a case for recess, with a bill that requires a minimum of 100 minutes for recess each week. State Representative Kathleen Fogarty is one of the bill’s sponsors. She said with all the focus on standardized testing, it’s important to keep time for free-play during the school day.

“I just think it’s healthy; we want these kids to be active,” said Fogarty. “I think it’s good for their mental well-being to be active, to get away from the schoolwork. And I think it’s also important for their socialization skills.”

John Bender / RIPR

Some tipped workers say an increase in Rhode Island’s minimum wage will make little difference to their finances. Dean Capice tends bar at Union Station Brewery in Providence. Like other tipped workers, he will see a 50 cent increase in his hourly wage – to $3.39 cents per hour. Capice doubts he will get much of a boost, since the majority of his income comes from tips.

Kristin Gourlay / RIPR

Rhode Islanders hail from all over the world, and so too do the dishes and traditions we practice during the holidays. To sample some of this season’s international flavors, Rhode Island Public Radio sent reporters into several communities. Kristin Gourlay begins our story at a Liberian restaurant. Rhode Island Public Radio’s Elisabeth Harrison and producer Nate Mooney also contributed to this piece.          

RIPR file photo

Public health officials gathered at the Statehouse Monday to mark World AIDS Day, pledging to increase the number of HIV-positive residents who receive testing and treatment.

The state has joined an international initiative known as the "90 90 90 campaign," which seeks to get 90 percent of people with HIV diagnosed and into treatment for the virus by 2020.

Currently an estimated 2,840 Rhode Islanders are HIV-positive.

The state is distributing some $4.5 million dollars for job training programs around the state. The money will be split among 26 groups.

The winning groups include Rhode Island businesses and non-profits across sectors from finance to defense. North Kingstown-based submarine builder Electric Boat received the largest grant of almost $370,000.

Electric Boat training manager Craig Sipe said the company will use the grant to expand training programs.

Thomas Pittman

Imagine serving as a soldier in Iraq, surviving, and then deploying to Afghanistan, with no trip home in between. U.S.Army Veteran Thomas Pittman did just that. As we honor the service of veterans on this Veterans Day, we bring you Pittman’s story, as part of our series "RI Veterans' Voices." 

Pittman served as a combat engineer in Iraq and Afghanistan.  He is currently pursuing a degree in social work at CCRI and Rhode Island College. 

Pittman served in the U.S. Army from 2008 through 2011. He spoke with Rhode Island Public Radio's Nate Mooney, who produced this story. 

Nate Mooney / RIPR

This week, as we prepare to mark Veterans Day, Rhode Island Public Radio brings you the stories of some of our servicemen and women in their own voices. We begin with Colonel Susan Luz, a retired army nurse who received a Bronze Star for service in Iraq.  

Luz comes from a military family. Her father served in World War II and her brother in Vietnam. Her father-in-law was a member of the World War II squad that inspired the HBO miniseries “Band of Brothers.” 

Colonel Susan Luz now works with teenagers in a psychiatric program at Gateway Healthcare in Rhode Island.

RIPR FILE

Two survivors of sexual assault will testify Monday before a statehouse commission aimed at curbing sexual violence on college campuses.

Commission member Peg Langhammer directs the nonprofit Day One, which helped to arrange the victims’ testimony. Langhammer said they will share details from their personal experiences and discuss what happened after the sexual assault.

Gabriella Nissen

Festival Ballet Providence kicks off its 38th season later this week with a re-boot of programs from The Ballets Russes. The dances shocked the art world when they premiered in Paris more than 100 years ago. The company invited collaborators from painters to fashion designers to take part in their performances. Festival Ballet Artistic Director Mihailo Djuric says the result was something new and exciting.

RIPR FILE

A tick researcher at the University of Rhode Island will use $2 million in federal grant funding to study tick repellent clothing. Professor Tom Mather plans to test garments that have been treated with a chemical called permethrin. If it’s effective, Mather said it could have serious public health benefits.

“Ticks up here transmit multiple diseases,” said Mather. “Lyme disease is of course what everyone hears about, but just as dangerous probably more dangerous are some of the infections that black legged ticks in our area carry.”

Lisa Williams / flickr

Downtown Providence might get a little noisy Monday as the Providence Honk Festival makes its annual parade through the city. The PRONK festival features a variety of marching bands and community groups. The groups will make their way from Kennedy Plaza to the mouth of Narragansett Bay.

The What Cheer? Brigade of Providence will be one of the bands taking part. Drummer Jori Ketten calls Pronk! an alternative street festival.

“A large part of the festival is about claiming the streets and spending time in the streets and reveling in the streets,” said Ketten.