Newport

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Developer Joe Paolino says he’ll try again to bring table games to Newport. Voters approved turn the Newport Grand slot parlor into a casino, but Newporters voted it down. 

Massachusetts voters gave gambling there a thumbs up. And that will hurt the slot parlor, said Paolino “You know right now I’m more concerned about the workers, because the workers are the ones that really put up this fight, they’re very concerned about their jobs.”

Proponents pushed the jobs angle; while opponents said a casino didn’t fit in Newport.

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This Election Day Newport voters will decide whether table games like poker and blackjack will be allowed at Newport Grand slot parlor.  The issue has become divisive in the small waterfront city.

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Newport residents defeated the expansion of table games like poker and blackjack at Newport Grand slot parlor two years ago.  But because casinos with table games are likely coming to southern Massachusetts, the issue is back on the ballot. 

This time however, a team of developers want to buy Newport Grand, and they have a plan to sweeten the pot, hoping to get approval.  As part of our Rhody Votes coverage Rhode Island Public Radio’s John Bender explains how the issue is dividing residents in this historic city by the sea.

Catherine Welch / RIPR

In our series One Square Mile we're exploring Narragansett Bay: what's lurking in the bay, its rich natural resources, how it affects the state's economy and the lives lived on the bay.  One of those lives is that of a tour guide who for years has delighted ferry passengers with fascinating stories of the many lighthouses in and around the bay.  

At Quonset Point, the ferry called The Ava Pearl idles along the dock as passengers line up to board. A man with a shock of white hair stands near the front of the line.

Newport Historical Society

We continue our series One Square Mile: Narragansett Bay with a look at the bay’s role in the slave trade. Tens of thousands of slaves were traded on ships out of Narragansett Bay, more than any other part of North America.

Newport was at one time the largest slave-trading port in the region. To find out more, Rhode Island Public Radio's education reporter Elisabeth Harrison met Newport history teacher Matt Boyle at Bannisters Wharf, which was built by a merchant involved in the slave trade. She asked him what it would have looked like in mid-18th Century.

Catherine Welch / RIPR

We’re launching our series One Square Mile and this time we’re focused on Narragansett Bay. The bay plays an enormous role in making Rhode Island a sailing mecca.

Sail Newport’s Executive Director Brad Read hops on one of the organization’s sailboats and starts pulling the line connected to the main sail. “You picked a perfect day, you couldn’t have asked for a dryer more perfect wind, beautiful blue sky,” said Read. “And you’re here at Sail Newport about to sail on one of our J-22’s.”

Catherine Welch / RIPR

Narragansett Bay has encircled Rhode Island’s history and culture since the colonial era. RIPR political analyst Scott MacKay kicks off our One Square Mile series on the bay.

Narragansett Bay was ours before we were Rhode Island. In 1524, the Italian explorer Giovanni de Verrazano sailed into the uncharted waters of the bay. He was impressed with what he saw, says Christopher Pastore, a professor at the SUNY at Albany and author of the new book `Between Land and Sea’ a history of the bay.

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One of the developers behind turning Newport Grand into a casino said he’s surprised that Senate President Teresa Paiva Weed has now come out against table games in Newport. Her comments came shortly after Wednesday night’s vote by the Newport City Council to reject a host agreement with developers.

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

This week Catherine Welch sits in for Dave, she and Mark talk with the CEO of International Tennis Hall of Fame and Museum, Todd Martin. They discuss the Hall of Fame’s expansion and what it’s doing to bring the facility to a global audience.

When to Listen

You can hear The Bottom Line each Friday at 5:50pm.

It’s pretty rare for top national Republican figures to visit Rhode Island, one of the nation’s deepest blue Democratic states. But Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus swoops into the Ocean State Thursday to scoop some campaign cash.

Priebus is scheduled to appear at a fund-raising event held by Mr. and Mrs. David Ford on Newport’s tony Bellevue Avenue, where the houses have names. (This mansion is called Miramar, at 646 Bellevue).

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U.S. Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel is scheduled to be in Rhode Island Wednesday.  He’ll be speaking at an event at the U.S. Naval War College in Newport.

Hagel will also speak on defense technology and industry at the ‘Defense Innovation Days’.  This conference brings lawmakers and defense industry reps together to discuss changes and trends in the industry.  Rhode Island has long relied on the defense industry for jobs, currently, with several government contracts manufacturing submarines. 

Ambar Espinoza / RIPR

Lobster fishermen, the Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management, Sen. Jack Reed, and other state leaders celebrated the grand opening of a new kitchen facility in Newport on Friday. The Newport Lobster Shack Kitchen, owned and run jointly by commercial lobster fishermen, sells freshly cooked food made directly from lobsters landed at Pier Nine on Long Wharf. 

DEM Director Janet Coit said many state leaders showed up to push a growing local seafood marketing effort in Rhode Island.

Newport Naval Station

The decommissioned USS Saratoga has left the Newport Naval Station. The weather finally cleared for the ship’s departure for 8:45am Thursday.

The Saratoga is heading down the eastern seaboard and around the tip of Florida to Brownsville, Texas where it will be pulled apart for scrap.

The 1950’s aircraft carrier was decommissioned 20 years ago. An effort failed to turn it into a museum and it sat in Newport for sixteen years.

Naval Station spokeswoman Lisa Rama said the Saratoga’s departure has left a hole in the landscape.

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The rising number of casinos in New England that’s hurting the Foxwoods Resort Casino is both a threat to table games in Rhode Island and the reason to add more.

Analyst Clyde Barrow said the Foxwoods Resort and Casino in Connecticut has been losing millions of dollars since its peak in 2006. To blame: a slow economic recovery and a growing number of casinos in New England.

For some indication of what Sen. Jack Reed’s reelection campaign will look like: Today’s  announcement of top Obama Administration officials who will be visiting Rhode Island in the coming weeks.

On Monday, August 18, Jane Chu, chairwoman of the National Endowment for the Arts will touch down in Pawtucket, Providence and East Providence to meet with non-profit and community leaders and local artists.

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