Rhode Island


Supporters of turning the vacant Superman Building into apartment units say they may unveil a new financing plan as soon as next week.  The General Assembly has been wary of offering a public subsidy to reuse the Superman Building in the aftermath of the collapse of video-game company 38 Studios. Supporters of the project say filling the Superman Building with tenants and other new uses would boost the economy in Providence.

Rhode Island National Guard Troops Returning Home

Mar 6, 2014

A large group of Rhode Island National guardsmen is set to return from deployment Thursday and Friday.

About 120 members of the Air National Guard will return home; arriving at Quonset Point over the next two days. They’re members of the 143rd Airlift Wing unit, who’ve been stationed in South West Asia. They’ve been deployed for as many as six months, working as pilots, aircraft maintenance crews and support staff.

Ian Donnis / RIPR

Governor Lincoln Chafee is among the New England governors who plan to join President Obama in Connecticut Wednesday to call for raising the minimum wage.  Democrats are emphasizing the minimum wage as part of their election-year strategy.

Chafee will join the governors of Massachusetts, Connecticut, and Vermont for a mid-day event at Central Connecticut State University in New Britain. The governor said he plans to emphasize how boosting the minimum wage is a way the government can help the middle class.

Courtesy Brown University

All this week we're marking Brown University's 250th birthday with a series of conversations reflecting on its past and looking into the Ivy League university's future. This morning (Wednesday) Rhode Island Public Radio's Scott MacKay talks with historian Ted Widmer about Brown's more recent past and where it's heading in the future.

thisisbossi / flickr

The Rhode Island Department of Transportation said a growing number of deadly wrong-way accidents has prompted it to invest in an alert system that should be up and running by the end of the summer

With one death already this year, and three last year RIDOT said deadly accidents caused by wrong-way drivers are growing not just in Rhode Island but around the country. So it's installing 20 detection systems that will first alert a driver through signs that they are going the wrong way, and after that the system alerts other drivers and police.


Courtesy Brown Medicine Magazine

This week, Rhode Island Public Radio is recognizing Brown University’s 250th anniversary with a series of conversations with Brown leaders and alumni.  We’re looking forward at what the future might hold for this institution of higher learning in our backyard.

Today, Rhode Island Public Radio health care reporter Kristin Gourlay speaks with Fox Wetle, head of Brown’s new school of public health. She asked Wetle, why start such a school to begin with, at Brown, when the university already has a medical school that’s starting to focus on public health issues, too?

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration has cited an East Providence company for serious workplace safety violations. It's the result of an investigation into an explosion that happened last August.

Back in August, wood dust caught fire and caused an explosion at Inferno Wood Pellet in East Providence. The fire spread through the building, injuring a worker and destroying part of the building.


The Bottom Line: What Will It Take To Pump Life Into RI's Economy?

Mar 3, 2014

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

This week Chuck Hinman fills in for Dave, he and Mark talk with Dean of Providence College's School of Business, Dr. Sylvia Maxfield. They discuss efforts to pump life into the state's economy, such as the Make It Happen project, and what needs to be done to improve Rhode Island's business climate.

When to Listen

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

Courtesy Brown University

Brown University is marking its 250th anniversary this month, and all week Rhode Island Public Radio is exploring the university's past and future in a series of conversations we're calling "Brown 250."

To kick off our series, Rhode Island Public Radio's Elisabeth Harrison sat down with historian Gordon Wood to go back to the Ivy League university's beginnings.

Flo Jonic / RIPR

Charles Moreau, the former mayor of Central Falls is a free man. 

Moreau served thirteen months of a two-year prison sentence for pleading guilty to corruption charges.

However, in separate case, a federal appeals court found the same charges did not constitute criminal activity.

Moreau’s conviction was vacated on the grounds that he would plead guilty to a new charge of bribery.

U.S. Attorney General Peter Neronha says that while he’s unhappy the Moreau walked free, at least Moreau was convicted of a new charge.

Flo Jonic / RIPR

On tap this week, Republican Ken Block’s plan to rescue the Rhode Island economy, and the outlook for the settlement aimed at ending the lawsuit over the state pension system.  Host Elisabeth Harrison sits in for Ian Donnis, and is joined by Rhode Island Public Radio’s political analyst Scott MacKay, and University of Rhode Island Political Science Professor Maureen Moakley.

Rhode Island Artscape: Designing Better Ballots

Feb 27, 2014
John Bender / RIPR

In Rhode Island a group of design students barely old enough to vote are working on projects that could potentially affect the future of Presidential elections.

For this month’s Artscape, Rhode Island Public Radio’s John Bender profiles a class that is trying to tackle the problem of a better ballot.

On the third floor of a building in downtown Providence, a group of a dozen or so students from the Rhode Island School of Design, also known as RISD are giving their final presentations for a class called VoteLab: Designing for Democracy.

Kristin Gourlay / RIPR

Rhode Island’s department of health director doctor Michael Fine plans to brief state lawmakers Wednesday on the state of the state’s health.

Fine will update lawmakers on the state’s progress on certain health indicators. Smoking rates are down to about 17 percent. New cases of HIV are falling. But since his last briefing for the General Assembly, Fine said, the needle hasn’t moved in the right direction on another major health challenge – drug addiction and overdose.

“Drug overdose death is what’s keeping us up at night. That’s our single biggest slippage," said Fine.

Catherine Welch / RIPR

Governor Lincoln Chafee sounded cautious notes about legalizing recreational marijuana, when he spoke with the Huffington Post about the potential of legalizing recreational pot in Rhode Island. 

His administration saw the decriminalization of the drug in 2013, and medical marijuana has been legal for several years.

Flo Jonic / RIPR

Republican gubernatorial candidate Ken Block announced his “Block Plan” to “fix Rhode Island,” should he be elected governor.

Block outlined a series of major tax reforms he would pursue, including reducing the corporate sales tax from 9 percent to 7 percent.  That would make it the lowest in New England.

He also called for eliminating a $500 minimum tax for new businesses. Block said the current tax policy makes Rhode Island an uninviting place for businesses and entrepreneurs.