local feature

How Providence is working to get more kids to school every day; and what happened to the $75 million Rhode Island spent in federal Race to theTop funding?  Rhode Island Public Radio’s Elisabeth Harrison looks for answers from Providence Superintendent of Schools Chris Maher on our weekly Bonus Q&A. Political reporter Ian Donnis returns next week.

Elisabeth Harrison / RIPR

Analysis by Rhode Island Public Radio finds urban and middle class students in Rhode Island have lower test scores than their peers in Massachusetts; and the state’s ambitious goal to improve 3rd grade reading skills in less than a decade. We discuss the top issues in public education on a special education edition of our weekly political roundtable. 

Ambar Espinoza / RIPR

Farming is a growing industry in Rhode Island, with many new farmers starting small businesses. But when they don’t come from farming families, finding land can be a challenge, especially in a state with the most expensive farmland in the country. To help new farmers purchase land, state officials have set up a new land access program as part of a longstanding effort to acquire and preserve green space. Now that program has come under attack by a conservative movement. 

Kristin Gourlay / RIPR

The search is underway for a new director of the state’s Department of Children, Youth, and Families. For this week’s The Pulse, Rhode Island Public Radio’s Kristin Gourlay sits down with outgoing director Jamia McDonald to learn what’s changed for children and staff since she took the reins a year and a half ago

John Bender

The town of Warren, Rhode Island has been named one of America’s 5 Great Neighborhoods. The American Planning Association on Monday recognized Warren’s downtown for its “foresight, innovation, and cooperation” in building a better place to live. It’s part of APA’s Great Places in America program, to recognize streets, neighborhoods, and public spaces in the United States demonstrating exceptional character, quality and planning.

Tommy Japan / flickr / Creative Commons License

Ever wonder why presidential candidates should release their tax returns? RIPR political analyst Scott MacKay offers some views from a distinctly Rhode Island perspective.

Providence Business News Editor Mark Murphy joins Rhode Island Public Radio's Dave Fallon for our weekly business segment, The Bottom Line.

This week, we focus on the Rhode Island Convention Center. How deeply do convention center events reach into the local economy? Is the convention business changing? These are just a few of the questions we ask Martha Sheridan, president and CEO of the Providence-Warwick Convention and Visitors Bureau.  

When to listen:

National Cancer Institute

The presidential candidates debated for the first time Monday night, and health care barely got a mention. Health care hasn’t exactly been in the spotlight throughout this presidential campaign. 

On Rhode Island Public Radio's Artscape this month we look at podcasting, with a profile of Nate Dimeo, a podcaster based in Los Angeles, but with deep Rhode Island roots.

U.S. Coast Guard / Creative Commons License

States that have legalized marijuana are contending with a new criminal tactic - smugglers who grow and process it for export to states where it remains illegal - and worth a lot more.

Colorado is the epicenter of the phenomenon, and it’s popping up in Oregon and Washington too. As Maine, Massachusetts and Canada consider legalizing recreational marijuana, the question arises - will the Northeast see a wave of new-age bootleggers?

bradlypjohnson / Creative Commons License

“Wicked” that ultimate prequel to “The Wizard of Oz” is back at the Providence Performing Arts Center. Rhode Island Public Radio’s Bill Gale says it’s a fine Broadway quality production its many fans are going to love.

Chuck Hinman

Rhode Island-based nonprofit, The Providence Plan, is handling fallout from the discovery of embezzlement by its Finance Director Charles Denno. 

Denno, who allegedly had a gambling problem, is under investigation for the disappearance of at least $600,000 over a four-year period. 

The first televised debate in the presidential election is Monday evening. There will be just two candidates on stage, Hilary Clinton and Donald Trump. 

Providence Business News Editor Mark Murphy joins Rhode Island Public Radio's Dave Fallon for our weekly business segment, The Bottom Line.

This week Mark and Dave discuss the state of the 38 Studios settlements. In the latest deal, executives from the failed video game company, including former Red Sox pitcher Curt Schilling, agreed to pay $2.5 million to the state. This was the second settlement announced this month; the other was worth $25 million, with financial firms Wells Fargo and Barclays Capital.

Courtesy of the Shelton family

Henry Shelton, a Roman Catholic priest turned social justice and political activist, longtime voice in Rhode Island for those who had none, passionate advocate for the poor and dispossessed  and thorn in the side of the state’s business and political establishment, died Wednesday at home in Cranston surrounded by his family. He was 86.