PROVIDENCE, RI – Gary Sasse of the Hassenfeld Institute for Public Leadership at Bryant University stopped by our studio to talk about pensions, economic development and more. Here's Rhode Island Public Radio political reporter Ian Donnis.

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PROVIDENCE, RI – The Rhode Island Department of Transportation is holding a pair of meetings next week seeking input on tolls planned for the Sakonnet River Bridge. Federal funding helped pay for the new bridge and at the time of construction tolls were not an option. But now that tolls are likely, the state needs to check back with the public as part of a re-evaluation process. RIDOT will cover where transportation funding comes from, and how tolls fit into the picture.

PROVIDENCE, RI – A group that lobbies for cities and towns is applauding talks aimed at resolving a looming pension crisis in Cranston. Cranston Mayor Allan Fung is planning to sit down with a group of retired firefighters and police officers.

PROVIDENCE, RI – Saturday is National Small Business Saturday, a day to draw attention to the importance of locally-owned businesses.

President of the North Central Rhode Island Chamber of Commerce, Deborah Ramos says this year the Chamber will offer a shuttle connecting stores in North Scituate, North Providence, and Johnston. "The shuttle bus will loop around and make those three stops. And then also during that visit we will be making a brief stop for a small for a light lunch. All for ten dollars."

PROVIDENCE, RI – The head of the Rhode Island Retail Federation has a pessimistic view of holiday sales in the Ocean State. While the National Retail Federation is predicting a robust four percent growth in holiday sales, Paul DeRoche, director of the Rhode Island Retail Federation, expects it to be half that locally. "The economy is slow. Consumer confidence is not that great. So I think we'll have about a 1.5% to 2% growth over last year."

PROVIDENCE, RI – The Rhode Island Community Food Bank is out with its annual hunger report. Rhode Island now outranks Maine for having the highest level of food insecurity in New England.

PROVIDENCE, RI – An infusion of 110 million in federal dollars will help to extend the main runway at T.F. Green Airport over the next five years. The money will also pay to mitigate noise and improve safety standards at the airport.

Senator Jack Reed was joined by local and state officials in announcing the availability of the money. Reed calls it an important step for improving one of the state's big economic generators.

PROVIDENCE, RI – The Rhode Island Foundation has rolled out a list of projects it would like to see worked on as part of its Make It Happen initiative. Hundreds of leaders in business, health care, the arts and other industry brain stormed for two days last month on ways to turn around the state's economy.

Photo: RIPR file

PROVIDENCE, RI – Gasoline prices are up in both Rhode Island and Massachusetts; although the prices are slightly better in Massachusetts.

PROVIDENCE, RI – Some 500 veterans are expected to converge on to Diamond Hill Park in Cumberland this weekend for Operation Stand Down. The camp gives at-risk veterans a chance to tap into some much-needed services.

Photo by: Flo Jonic

PROVIDENCE, RI – State Treasurer Gina Raimondo is lending her support to ballot question 7, which would allow the state to borrow 25 million dollars for affordable housing. The funds would be matched five fold in grants and donations from other sources.

Backers of the measure feel confident it will pass.

Photo: RIPR file

PROVIDENCE, RI – University of Rhode Island Professor of Economics Leonard Lardaro has released his monthly report on the state's economy. Lardaro says the July numbers show both good news and bad news.

"What a bizarre situation Rhode Island finds itself in the acceleration in activity that everyone here had been so eagerly awaiting has already occurred and is in the process of disappearing!" Those are the words used by Professor Lardaro in summarizing the start of the third quarter.

PROVIDENCE, RI – Moody's is taking a shine to Central Falls' plan to dig itself out of bankruptcy. The bond rating agency released a report that applauds the city's five-year plan.