Rhode Island

Chuck Hinman

Earlier this month, the Swedish Academy awarded the 2016 Nobel Prize for Literature to Bob Dylan. While not quite as shocking as when Dylan went electric at the Newport Folk Festival in 1965, the award still caused some controversy among those critics who felt it was artistically unjustified. They said the singer-songwriter known for such influential songs as “Blowing in the Wind” and “Like a Rolling Stone” was not creating literature.

For this month’s Artscape, RIPR’s Chuck Hinman gets some perspective on the award from Harvard classics professor Richard Thomas, who also teaches a seminar on Dylan.


RIPR FILE

The Federal Railroad Administration has proposed a major expansion of the Northeast rail corridor from Washington, D.C. through Providence and Boston. The plan would cost an estimated $120 billion, to build new tracks, new lines, and more trains.

The FRA says most of the railways on the line should be expanded from two to four tracks, and it calls for direct and frequent service to Hartford, Connecticut and Springfield, Massachusetts.

Ryan Caron King / NENC

Part 1 of a four-part New England News Collaborative series called "Facing Change"

New England is facing a demographic crisis: its people are getting too old to work. States are desperate for young workers who can fill jobs, attract businesses and pay taxes. 

Jack Rodolico / VPR/NENC

For one of New England's biggest developers, Brady Sullivan Properties, there’s been a lot of bad news over the past year. State and federal investigators have found lead contamination and illegal toxic dumping. And those are just the cases that made headlines – in recent years there have been other complaints involving Brady Sullivan projects from homeowners and others. Regulators haven’t taken a comprehensive look at all these incidents to see if there’s a pattern at play. For the New England News Collaborative, NHPR’s Jack Rodolico reports,

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 speak with Preston Halperin of the law firm of Shectman, Halperin and Savage of Pawtucket. Halperin represents marijuana cultivating clients in MA and RI, advising them on the business-related issues.

Elisabeth Harrison / RIPR

The State Council on Elementary and Post-Secondary Education voted Tuesday to allow a major proposed expansion of the charter school system, Achievement First, in Providence. The Connecticut-based organization could potentially grow by more than 2,000 students.

Achievement First currently operates two elementary schools in the capital city, with about 700 students. The group is hoping to expand that to three elementary schools, two middle schools, and a high school, increasing enrollment to more than 3,000.

RIPR FILE

The holiday concert: it’s a rite of passage for the thousands kids in bands, chorus, and orchestras across the country. By Christmas Eve, more than 3,000 students will have performed under the marble rotunda at the Rhode Island Statehouse.

Rhode Island Public Radio's Ximena Conde caught up with North Providence’s Middle School Select Band, as they gave their performance. The students learned that a lot can happen before the show goes on.

Greg Berger directs the band. You also hear the voices of drummer Cameron Geruso and clarinetist Trevor Gaouette. 

Elisabeth Harrison / RIPR

Votes are expected Tuesday on several applications to expand or open new charter schools. The decision at the state Council on Elementary and Secondary Schools has become more contentious for cities with more students in charter schools.

RIPTA will continue its free bus pass program for low income seniors and disabled people through the end of January. The public transit authority says the extension is designed to give riders a chance to adjust to the new fare schedule.

Beginning in February, low income seniors and the disabled will pay fifty cents a ride. Riders have protested the fare increase. But RIPTA authorities say the program has grown so big it's financially unsustainable. 

RIPR File Photo

It’s been a big week for wind energy. The nation’s first offshore wind farm is up and running off the coast of Block Island. And another Rhode Island wind company just scored a grant from the National Science FoundationAquanis is a tech company trying to improve the efficiency of wind turbines. We introduce you to the wind energy company you may not know about.

SayCheeeeeese / Creative Commons License

 

Connecticut is home to several fuel cell manufacturers whose products are competitive on the global market. But state officials still overlooked fuel cell technology in its latest round of picks for clean energy development.

The big winners were wind and solar. Connecticut's Department of Energy and Environmental Protection gave the green light to proposals in Connecticut, New York, Massachusetts, Vermont, Maine, and New Hampshire.

Ambar Espinoza / RIPR

Many Muslims in Rhode Island are feeling anxious about a Trump presidency, following promises to change immigration and refugee policy and discussions of a possible Muslim registry. In response, Muslim community leaders organized a private workshop Sunday to review the legal rights of citizens, immigrants and refugees.

RIPR FILE

Debate is growing over the expansion of the charter school Achievement First in Providence. 

RIPR FILE

Following anecdotal reports of an uptick in harassment of minority groups across the country, Providence has created a hate crime hotline. There is currently no statewide mechanism dedicated to hate incidents.  

The new hotline is part of Mayor Jorge Elorza’s effort to allay the concerns of residents, after the election of Donald Trump. Many of the city's minority groups, including sexual, racial and religious minorities, have expressed fears about safety and protection from harassment under the incoming administration.

Chuck Hinman / RIPR

Following the election of Donald Trump, immigrants are expressing concerns that his harsh rhetoric now promises to become policy in the incoming administration. In Rhode Island, advocates who work with immigrants and refugees say there aren’t enough immigration lawyers to answer their clients’ concerns. 

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