A bill that would use $39 million in taxpayers’ money to revitalize the vacant Superman Building is slated for a Senate Finance committee hearing this Tuesday.  Lawmakers have been lukewarm about using a public subsidy for the Providence skyscraper.

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

This week Dave and Mark talk with Karen Sibley, dean of the School of Professional Studies at Brown University to discuss the joint executive MBA degree program and the IE Business School of Madrid, Spain.

When to Listen

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

The Rhode Island Philharmonic Looks At Seventy

May 30, 2014
RI Philharmonic

This Sunday, internationally acclaimed cellist Yo-Yo Ma joins the Rhode Island Philharmonic for a concert to kick off the orchestra’s seventieth season.

Rhode Island Public Radio’s John Bender spoke with the orchestra’s executive director David Beauchesne to talk about the concert, the state of the orchestra at seventy, and building the next generation of musicians.

John Bender / RIPR

Rhode Island has received more than $2.7 million to clean up contaminated properties in Pawtucket, Providence, and Westerly.

Senator Jack Reed says these federal grants awarded through the Environmental Protection Agency’s Brownfields Program will help local governments protect public health and redevelop former industrial sites for better use. Reed says it’ll also benefit the economy by creating jobs and increasing the value of surrounding properties.

Catherine Welch / RIPR

The City of Providence has filed a federal lawsuit claiming Santander Bank engaged in discriminatory lending practices. Lawyers filing the suit are calling the bank’s lending practices a civil rights issue.

The lawsuit claims that during the housing boom minority neighborhoods were given risky loans, then after the bust Santander stopped making loans in those neighborhoods and focused instead on white neighborhoods.

State Education Commissioner Deborah Gist has declined to comment, at least in person, on Providence's waiver of the testing portion of the state's diploma system for roughly 200 seniors. She did provide the following written statement to RIPR, via email.

John Bender / RIPR

Proposals are in for developments that could go up on acres of land opening up for redevelopment in downtown Providence.  The land was freed up by a major highway project that involved moving I-195.  Rhode Island Public Radio's Elisabeth Harrison sat down with Colin Kane, the director of the I-195 Commission.  The group has been charged with overseeing the development of the land.  Kane discussed the progress made since the project broke ground about a year ago, and where they hope to go.

Providence is granting a reprieve to some 200 high school seniors, who risk not graduating under a new state policy linking test scores to a high school diploma.

The rule, in effect for the first time this year, calls for students to score partially proficient or better on the NECAP test or improve significantly on a retake. Students can also use alternative tests or acceptance at a competitive college to earn their diploma.

Photo Courtesy of Peter Green via Audubon Society of Rhode Island

Three baby peregrine falcons born atop Providence’s Superman building are now banded for tracking.

  There were four eggs, but only three chicks survived, all boys. And now they have bands on their legs that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will keep a record of.

The Audubon Society of Rhode Island’s Jeff Hall said the banding took about a half hour, and the process started when licensed bander Joe Zbyrowski climbed a ladder to reach the chicks nesting in a special box.

The Bottom Line: The State of Catering In RI

May 23, 2014

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

This week Dave and Mark talk with Lisa Mattiello, founder of Pranzi Catering and Events of Providence and Newport. She was recently named Small Business Person of the Year in Rhode Island for 2014.

When to Listen

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

Do you have insight or expertise on this topic? Please email us, we'd like to hear from you.

Pell Unveils State Infrastructure Plan

May 23, 2014

Democratic gubernatorial candidate Clay Pell says the infrastructure in Rhode Island is failing, and he wants to spend at least $200 million to fix it.

Pell released his transportation and infrastructure plan Thursday using the Providence train station as his backdrop.  Pell says the station is a good example of a transportation hub in need of repairs.  If elected, Pell says he would include a bond referendum in 2016 and 2018 to create a $200 million program to improve bridges, roads and highways.

He says other projects could be paid for with federal funding.

Wikimedia Commons

Once again, Rhode Islanders are making national news for the low regard we have for our tiny state. RIPR political analyst Scott MacKay says it’s time to stop taking Rhode Island  for granted.

The Gallup poll discovered that Rhode Island is the state least appreciated by its own residents. Just 18 percent of Rhode Islanders said our small slice of southeastern New England was the best place or one of the best places to live.

The Rhode Island chapter of the ACLU says the 195 Commission should err on the side of transparency in releasing information to the public. The commission held a number of votes in a closed session Monday without describing what they were about. A spokeswoman for the commission says it has received several proposals for land made available by the relocation of Interstate 195.

Rhode Island ACLU head Steve Brown said the 195 commission appears to be within its legal rights by not releasing more information about its votes before signing a letter of intent.

Roger Williams Park Zoo

Roger Williams Park Zoo is announcing the birth of a Matschie Tree Kanagroo. The baby kangaroo has just started to poke her head out of her mother’s pouch.

Zookeepers are pretty sure the baby Matschie Tree Kangaroo is a girl, and went ahead and named her Holly.

She was born back in October and has spent the past several months tucked away in her mother’s pouch. Now that she’s poking her head out, the zoo decided to spread the news. 

John Bender / RIPR

Investigators say a clamp that held up an apparatus snapped, sending eight acrobats plunging 35 feet to the ground, falling on a dancer below. It happened on Sunday during a circus act where women dangle high above the ground from their hair.