local feature

Elisabeth Harrison

In Tuesday's primary, Rhode Island voters ousted House Majority Leader John DeSimone and five other incumbents. Progressive Democrats picked up three wins, and mayors in North Providence and Woonsocket won re-election. Rhode Island Public Radio's Political Analyst Scott MacKay discusses these results and more with Host Chuck Hinman.

Ryan Caron King / WNPR

Wind power is about to go big-time in New England, with the opening of the first offshore wind farm in the U.S., located off the Rhode Island coast. And onshore wind projects already dot the region. But Connecticut hasn’t joined the movement. The state doesn’t have a lot of wind, or available space, and only recently lifted a ban on wind turbine projects.

As part of the New England News Collaborative energy series, The Big Switch, WNPR’s Ryan Caron King goes to the tiny town of Colebrook, Connecticut to find out why wind power hasn’t taken off yet, and whether another natural resource - water reservoirs - might be the solution.

John Bender / RIPR

Rhode Islanders will go to the polls Tuesday to vote in a primary election. The general lack of high-profile races is expected to result in a low turnout of voters. 

Ambar Espinoza / RIPR

Even with the boom in renewable power, New England still gets about half its energy from natural gas - that’s a huge jump from 15 percent in 2000. The fracking boom in the U.S. meant a big investment in gas-fired power plants. But many environmentalists are pushing back, 

All this week, we’ll bring you more stories from The Big Switch: New England’s Energy Moment. It comes from the New England News Collaborative, a name you may have heard on Rhode Island Public Radio over the past couple of months. You may be wondering what that is. Well, eight public radio stations, including

Rhode Island Public Radio, are partnering up to cover some of the most pressing issues across New England. 

Angela Evancie / Vermont Public Radio File Photo

New England now gets nearly 10 percent of its energy from renewable sources - with more on the way. But that change is posing challenges for the region’s electric grid. The Big Switch: New England's Energy Moment looks at this transformative time for how the region powers itself.

Ian Donnis / RIPR

Longtime North Providence Mayor Charles Lombardi faces a challenge from fellow Democrat Kristen Catanzaro in Tuesday's primary election. The race is the hardest-fought mayoral contest in this week’s election.

On a recent afternoon, North Providence Mayor Charles Lombardi showed off 19 acres of forested preservation land at Camp Meehan, near the town’s border with Smithfield. Sunlight gleamed nearby on the blue water of the Wenscott Reservoir, a scene so bucolic you’d never know that busy Mineral Spring Avenue is only about a mile away.

Labor Day has come and gone, schools are back in session, and once again teachers are on the hunt for classroom supplies. Many of them will head straight to Resources for Rhode Island Education, a non-profit organization that, for 25 years, has been recycling manufacturers’ excess material, and making it available to schools and community organizations.

In many ways, this story really starts with the fact that there are always people with stuff they want to get rid of, like Mack the Finger, from Bob Dylan’s classic song "Highway 61."

RIPR FILE

Voters head to the polls Tuesday for primary elections in Rhode Island, and one of those primaries will fill a House seat formerly held by Ray Gallison. The Democrat resigned under a law enforcement probe likely to include legislative grants, given to an organization with Gallison on the payroll. Rhode Island Public Radio Political Analyst Scott MacKay discussed the race with News Director Elisabeth Harrison.

Alex Braunstein / RIPR

The City of Providence has a new work of public art. Installations have popped up in public spaces across the city over the past year. The latest is a large mural called “BattleCat,” painted by an Austrian artist who goes by the name NYCHOS.

It’s a part of a series of paintings created by international artists visiting the city through a residency program.

Kathleen Gorman

Hundreds of thousands of Rhode  Islanders receive state assistance like food stamps and Medicaid. The agency that helps connect them with those benefits - the Department of Human Services - is in the midst of a major reorganization. 

Elisabeth Harrison / RIPR

 

Few people know that Providence is home to a plaza designed by the architect I.M. Pei, the man behind the famous pyramids outside the Louvre Museum in Paris. In the 1960s, Providence hired Pei to redesign Cathedral Square during a push for urban renewal. But the effort failed to attract people or achieve the renown of some of Pei's later projects.

Will Hart / Creative Commons License

Labor Day marks the end of summer. RIPR political analyst Scott MacKay reminds us that this holiday that honors workers once meant much more in Rhode Island.

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 speak with Frank Tweedie, Dean of the Johnson and Wales University School of Engineering and Design.

This week, the University opened the John J. Bowen Center for Science and Innovation. The 71,000 square foot building is the first to be completed on the vacant I-195 land in Providence. Tweedie talks about the new facility, as well as the school’s approach to science, engineering and biotech training.

Ambar Espinoza / RIPR

A Connecticut-based company operating at a Westerly quarry embroiled in controversy since 2010 has been gone for nearly a year. But residents are still restless about the stockpiles of stone dust they left behind and the potential impacts to their health. The family that owns the quarry is now renting it to another company tasked with cleaning it up. Local, state and federal officials got a tour of the progress.

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