Providence

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.

Cycling fans roll out the bicycles Saturday for Bike Fest RI.  The annual event is hosted this year at the Met School in Providence.

Organizers say it kicks off Rhode Island’s cycling season. That’s cycling season if you’re a casual biker. Hard core cyclists like Ed Raff ride through the winter. Raff is one of the organizers of Bike Fest RI. He said the event is geared toward getting everyone try biking just a little bit more.

Ian Donnis / RIPR

Governor Gina Raimondo said Tuesday she's unsure if the Pawtucket Red Sox proposal to move to Providence will be decided -- as the team's ownership hopes -- before the end of the General Assembly session.

John Bender / RIPR

Hundreds of protestors marched through the streets of Providence Saturday demanding better relations with law enforcement. The event took place in solidarity with similar demonstrations in Baltimore.

Flanked by police officers, community members, organizers and activists marched through the streets carrying signs that read "black lives matter," "end police brutality," and simply "resist."

The demonstration was spurred by the recent death of Freddie Gray, a black man in Baltimore who died following injuries he sustained while in police custody.

A protest is expected in Providence Saturday to show support for Baltimore residents, who have been calling for justice in the death of 25-year-old Freddie Gray, a black man who died from injuries sustained in police custody.

Baltimore officials announced Friday that six police officers will face charges.  

In Providence, rally organizer Marco McWilliams say he shares concerns raised in Baltimore about the relationship between police and minority residents. 

The month of May is here, bringing a heightened focus on Gina Raimondo's proposed budget and the PawSox proposal. So thanks for stopping by, and feel free to share your tips & thoughts at idonnis (at) ripr (dot) org, and to follow me on the twitters. Here we go.

Providence Mayor Jorge Elorza joins Bonus Q+A to talk about his budget; tax stabilization agreements; the search for an economic development director; the Superman Building; snow-removal; and much more.

Ian Donnis/File Photo / RIPR

Providence Mayor Jorge Elorza joins Political Roundtable this week to discuss his budget proposal for the fiscal year starting July 1; the PawSox' proposed Providence ballpark; and the takeaways from recent events in Baltimore.

Ian Donnis/File Photo / RIPR

Providence Mayor Jorge Elorza said he was racially profiled by police "countless times" as a youth and young man in Rhode Island's capital city.

"It's just part of growing up in the city -- which is very unfortunate and sad," Elorza, a son of Guatemalan immigrants, said Thursday during a taping of Rhode Island Public Radio's Political Roundtable. "I've been pulled over a number of times, so I'm sensitive to that."

John Bender / RIPR

It’s been a year since the death of local musician David Lamb, whose passing threw the future of the folk duo Brown Bird into question. This week saw the release of the band’s final album. Crafted during Lamb’s battle with leukemia, the album was finished by his wife MorganEve Swain, the other half of the band. Music journalists are calling it Brown Bird’s swan song.

Ian Donnis / RIPR

Providence Mayor Jorge Elorza on Wednesday touted his proposed $696 million budget for the fiscal year starting July 1 as a way to continue the capital city's financial recovery while making it more business-friendly.

Ian Donnis / RIPR

Providence Mayor Jorge Elorza is slated to deliver his first budget address Wednesday. The capital city is facing a sizeable deficit.

The budget hole could be as large as $23 million. That’s a lot less than the deficit former Mayor Angel Taveras called a fiscal hurricane, but it’s still a significant gap to fill.

Mayor Jorge Elorza has pledged to cultivate broad-based economic growth, while holding the line against tax increases. Complicating the outlook is the fact that Providence needs to negotiate new contracts for teachers and municipal workers.

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