Newport

file / RIPR

Newport Jazz and Folk Festival founder George Wein is calling folk legend Pete Seeger the heart and soul of the folk festival. Seeger was on the Newport Folk Festival’s first board, and Wein credits Seeger for re-starting the festival in 1963 after it fizzled out in 1960.

Breakers Mansion Visitor Center Clears Major Hurdle

Jan 28, 2014
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In Newport, a visitor center proposed at the Breakers Mansion passed a major hurdle last night.

The hotly contested center is still far from a reality.

The Preservation Society of Newport County which owns the Breakers Mansion wants to build a visitor center, which would house bathrooms, information, and food on the mansion’s property.

They say it’s needed to support the approximately four-hundred thousand annual visitors.

The Society applied for approval of the project from the city’s historic district commission, but was denied.

Breakers Mansion At The Center Of Heated Debate

Jan 27, 2014
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On Monday, Newport’s Zoning Board of Review will hear an appeal of a ruling by the city’s Historic District Commission that rejected plans for a welcome center at the Breakers Mansion.

The Commission decided against the idea in a 4:3 vote during a hearing last August. The Preservation Society of Newport County wants to put the welcome center outside the historic mansion once owned by the Vanderbilt family.

Newport City Zoning Officer Guy Weston said lawyers for the Preservation Society claim the hearing was flawed by a faulty staff report.

Calls For Median On Pell Bridge Grow Louder

Jan 10, 2014

The Newport City Council approved a resolution urging the Rhode Island Turnpike and Bridge Authority to install a center barrier. The move by the Council follows a fatal head-on collision that took place on the Pell Bridge on Christmas Eve.

In the incident, police say a 75-year-old man swerved into oncoming traffic. He later died of his injuries.

Newport joins Middletown and Jamestown in approving the resolution. All of Newport County has been asked to do the same.

file / RIPR

Rhode Islanders looking to get into the marine trades industry can apply for a free training program. Every graduate from the last round of training landed a job.

 The Rhode Island Marine Trades Association held its first round of training over the summer, and every graduate found a job within 30 days of graduation. So the trade association is doing it again, offering a free, full-time, five-and-a-half-week course.

The public has a chance to weigh in this Friday on a slate of proposed transportation projects that will be paid for out of a new fund.

The new fund helps cities and towns access low-interest loans for road construction projects. It’s modeled after the state’s Clean Water Finance Authority, which over the past 15 years has loaned out $1 billion for municipal sewage treatment projects.

In fact, the Clean Water Finance Authority will administer this new transportation fund.There are 23 projects seeking funding.

The public has a chance to weigh in Friday on a slate of proposed transportation projects that will be paid for out of a new fund

The new fund helps cities and towns access low-interest loans for road construction projects. It’s modeled after the state’s Clean Water Finance Authority, which over the past 15 years has loaned out $1 billion for municipal sewage treatment projects. In fact, the Clean Water Finance Authority will administer this new transportation fund.

Emma Ruddock / RIPR

For nearly two centuries, the Providence Journal has been Rhode Island’s most important news organization. Now that it is up for sale, RIPR political analyst Scott MacKay brings us the ProJo’s  storied  past and uncertain future.

When the first edition of the Providence Journal  was printed in 1829, it was a four-page broadsheet hand pressed into paper fashioned from recycled linen rags.

Newport Jazz Festival Adds Extra Day

Dec 5, 2013
Aaron Read / RIPR

The Newport Jazz Festival will be a little longer next year.

The Newport Jazz Festival, which has been a two-day event for decades, is adding a third day for its 60th anniversary next year.  The bonus day will be Friday, August 1st    and will feature new and emerging artists. The extra day was made possible by a 40-thousand dollar grant from the Rhode Island Foundation. Neil Steinberg is CEO of the Foundation.

God's Little Acre Kickstarter

Some Newport residents have started a Kickstarter campaign to raise money to buy a new sign for the African burial cemetery known as “God’s Little Acre.”  The original sign was destroyed by Hurricane Irene in 2011.  The new sign is estimated to cost 55-hundred dollars.

The cemetery is also the subject of a new website.

RIPR FILE

The southernmost section of the Cliff Walk that was damaged last year by Superstorm Sandy is expected to reopen to the public this week.

The three-and-a-half mile trail was badly damaged in the storm. Cliff Walk Commission Chairman Robert B. Power said repairs will cost $3.5 million.

"It eroded a lot of the walkway near Ruggles Avenue which caused some of the sidewalk to cave in. It took a chunk of the actual stone out at Doris Duke’s estate which we had to go back and fill in. It tore a lot of the fencing behind Miramar," said Powers.

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A pair of 19th century men’s shoes has been found in the old State House in Newport.   The discovery at the so-called “Colony House” was made last week.  It was not a complete surprise to historians.

The brown leather men’s slippers were discovered under the floor boards of a courtroom in the old Colony House last week. The building is undergoing an extensive renovation.  Ruth Taylor, executive director of the Newport Historical Society, said they date to about 1830 and were probably left there as the building was under construction.

Bradley Campbell / RIPR

Sailing officials from around the globe are in Newport this week getting ready for the next Volvo Ocean Race. The race starts in October of 2014 and makes a stop in Newport in May of 2015. This will be the only North American stop. Discover Newport CEO Evan Smith said the race will deliver exposure that will pay off for years to come.

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Belcourt of Newport has pulled its application for a state renewable energy grant. Alex and Ani owner Carolyn Rafaelian bought Belcourt and is currently renovating the Newport mansion.

The Rhode Island Economic Development Corporation was supposed to take up this month an $18,500 grant for a solar array and geo-thermal heating and cooling system for Belcourt. But the EDC said Belcourt has pulled the grant request.

The EDC put off a vote on awarding the grant at its last meeting after two board members recused themselves due to a conflict of interest.

Robert Knudsen. White House Photographs. / John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum, Boston

It’s been a half-century  years since the assassination of John F. Kennedy.  RIPR Political analyst Scott MacKay explores why Kennedy loved Rhode Island and why the Ocean State loved JFK.

Our state is America’s smallest but it loomed large in the life of John F. Kennedy.

From the time Kennedy was a young man, he and his family were shaped by experiences in Rhode Island.  If any event forged the career of John Kennedy it was his World War II heroics as patrol torpedo lieutenant in the U.S. Navy.

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