Providence

Thanks for stopping by for my weekend column. Your tips and thoughts are always welcome at idonnis (at) ripr (dot) org, and you can follow me all week long on the twitters. Here we go.

A flash flood warning is in effect until Tuesday night for a large swath of Rhode Island. Flooding has already caused trouble in some low-lying areas.

According to the National Weather Service, the greater-Providence area saw three-point-two inches of rain over the weekend, leaving some Cranston roadways underwater. The flooding, mainly in urban areas, included Oaklawn Avenue, where two cars were trapped. Cranston officials say they will deploy public works crews to clean out drains, and monitor the Pawtuxet and Pocasset rivers, which routinely flood.

The Pope of the Armenian Apostolic Church is in Rhode Island Saturday. The visit comes on the centennial of the killing and deportation of more than one million Armenians by the Ottoman Empire.

When he stops in Providence, the leader of the international Armenian church, Pope Aram I, will visit the memorial to what many historians call the Armenian Genocide, at the North Burial Ground.  He’ll also take part in a church service.

Father Gomidas Baghsarian, priest at Sts. Vartanantz Church, said the visit is a big honor.

Rhode Island has received $1 million dollars from the Environmental Protection Agency to help clean up local brownfields; areas contaminated by toxic substances.  The money will go toward cleaning up areas in Pawtucket, Central Falls and Providence.  

Ian Donnis/File Photo / RIPR

In a bold move, Senate Majority Leader Dominick Ruggerio (D-Providence) submitted legislation Thursday proposing tax stabilization standards for the 195 District in Providence.

Ian Donnis / RIPR

House Deputy Whip Christopher Blazejewski (D-Providence) joins Political Roundtable this week to discuss mixed economic news coming out of Rhode Island's capital city; the next step for the PawSox after the death of Jim Skeffington; and the fairness hearing being held on the state pension settlement.

Ian Donnis / RIPR

Providence Mayor Jorge Elorza said Thursday an independent analysis shows Rhode Island's capital city will face a stream of annual structural deficits of between $11 million and $19 million, starting in July 2016, and he called for new steps to strengthen the city's financial standing.

There’s a new school where Rhode Islanders can receive a Bachelor’s degree. The school is aimed at students working to complete a degree they started but haven’t finished.

I-195 Redevelopment Commission

There’s a new proposal to develop part of the former I-195 land. The project could bring in long sought-after jobs in the science and health sectors.

The proposal comes from Connecticut real estate developer, CV Properties, and Baltimore-based Wexford Science and Technology. Wexford is a real-estate developer specializing in the health sciences.

Jim Skeffington, the president of the PawSox died unexpectedly on Sunday after collapsing while jogging near his home in Barrington.  As a Providence lawyer, Skeffington was an influential dealmaker in the capital city for years. He was also the public face for the PawSox proposed move to a ballpark on the Providence River. Rhode Island Public Radio's political reporter Ian Donnis joined morning host Chuck Hinman to discuss Skeffington's death and what it could mean.

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 Steve Maurano, Associate Vice President of public affairs for Providence College.  The private Catholic institution recently completed an economic impact study. It shows the school has a $200 million dollar impact on the city and state.

 

When to listen

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

John Bender / RIPR

The lineup has been announced for the first annual Providence International Arts Festival.  Part of the idea is branding the city as a national cultural destination.

The festival will take place over four days this June, and will feature more than 500 artists. International headlining acts include African singer Angelique Kidjo and the Mexican Squonk Opera.

Even with international headliners, Providence Mayor Jorge Elorza stressed that festival will showcase dozens of local acts.

Ian Donnis / RIPR

College of the Holy Cross professor Victor Matheson, a sports economist, says the economic benefits of the PawSox’ proposed Providence ballpark do not justify a large commitment of public dollars. Matheson spoke Wednesday morning during an event sponsored by the Blackstone Valley Tourism Council.

RIPR FILE

Beaches have opened and warm weather is upon us, which can mean only one thing for the Ocean State, tourist season has begun. State officials are expecting increases in revenue compared to last year. Summer arrived later than usual last year, and Rhode Island saw just an average tourist season.  But this year thermometers have already been pushing 80 degrees. 

Director of tourism for Commerce RI, Mark Brodeur said early beach openings, and events like the Volvo Ocean sailing race in Newport are giving the season a strong start.

Despite interest from other communities, the PawSox say they remain focused on moving the team to Providence. New Bedford officials have indicated a desire to attract the PawSox if things don’t work out in the Ocean State.

PawSox spokeswoman Patti Doyle said the team’s ownership continues to focus on what it calls Plan A – wining support for the construction of a new ballpark near downtown Providence.

City councilors in New Bedford said they’d like to interest the PawSox in relocating there, but recognize that Rhode Island is the team’s first choice.

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