Rhode Island

Economy
8:29 am
Fri May 23, 2014

West Warwick Residents Approve Critical Budget

West Warwick has been teetering on the edge of financial ruin for several years.
Credit Wikimedia Commons

Residents of West Warwick have passed a town budget that scales back services and raises taxes as part of an effort to avoid a financial crisis.  The move is a early step for the town's path to fiscal stability.

The $86.3 million budget comes with plenty of concessions, including cuts in town programs, a 2.9 percent increase in property taxes, and reductions to public employee pensions. But town manager Frederick Presley said the concessions are necessary if West Warwick wants to avoid bankruptcy.

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Made In Rhode Island
3:06 am
Thu May 22, 2014

Made In Rhode Island: Making Lace On Leavers Looms

Workers at Leavers Lace in West Greenwich work on machines that are more than 100 years old.
Credit Catherine Welch / RIPR

Some businesses’ bottom lines rise and fall with the stock market, others with trends in popular culture. Take the fashion industry. The lace on Kate Middleton’s wedding gown sparked a trend that is being felt here in Rhode Island.

Wall Street is not what York Roberts keeps an eye on. You won’t catch him monitoring the business cable channels for the latest ups and downs in the stock market. Nope. Roberts is more likely to be watching the E! Entertainment channel for what’s hot on the red carpet.

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Politics
9:50 am
Wed May 21, 2014

RI ACLU Says I-195 Commission Should Err On The Side Of Transparency

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.

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Politics
10:28 am
Tue May 20, 2014

Judge Advises Both Sides In 38 Studios Lawsuit Against Release Of Facts Too Early

Lawmakers continue to debate whether or not to pay back the money owed from the failed video game company 38 Studios.
Credit RIPR FILE

The judge overseeing the state’s lawsuit over 38 Studios warned lawyers Monday about what he called the dribbling out of information. The state is suing 14 defendants to try to cut taxpayers’ losses from the failed video-game company.

Superior Court Judge Michael Silverstein gently advised lawyers on both sides of the case against the early release of facts that he calls better suited for discussion at trial. That came after Silverstein heard arguments about whether to release documents connected to the case. The judge did not make an immediate decision on that question.

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Governor's Race
9:32 am
Tue May 20, 2014

Taveras Unveils Plan For State's Tourism Industry

Providence mayor and gubernatorial hopeful Angel Taveras says his plan for the state's tourism industry will bring more than 2000 jobs to Rhode Island.
Credit RIPR FILE

Providence mayor and Democratic gubernatorial hopeful Angel Taveras unveiled his plan for the state’s tourism industry.

Taveras says he plans to spend five million dollars a year to the industry for a total of twenty-million dollars over a four year term to promote the state. Taveras says the plan would create about 2600 new jobs in the state, helping the floundering economy.  Rhode Island’s unemployment remains the nation’s highest at more than eight percent.

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The Bottom Line
2:37 pm
Fri May 16, 2014

The Bottom Line: How Farmers Help Grow RI’s Economy

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 Ken Ayars, chief of the Department of Environmental Management’s Division of Agriculture. They talk about the state of local farming, the changing definition of farming and how farms contribute to the local economy.

When to Listen

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

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Paying For It
8:53 am
Fri May 16, 2014

After Graduation, Navigating The World Of Student Loans

Students walk through Bryant University's campus in the warm weather. Bryant University students average the highest student debt in Rhode Island.
Credit Elisabeth Harrison / RIPR

In the final installment of our series Paying For It: Rhode Islanders Struggle with Student Debt, education reporter Elisabeth Harrison visits the Rhode Island Student Loan Authority to speak with Executive Director Charlie Kelley. She asked him to walk through the payment system for a student who has borrowed $31,000, about the average for recent graduates in Rhode Island.

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Education
8:21 am
Thu May 15, 2014

Woonsocket Schools To Offer Full-Day Kindergarten

Woonsocket schools will offer full-day kindergarten starting in the fall.  The school department says it will come at no extra cost to taxpayers.

Superintendent Giovanna Donoyan says about 7 percent of first graders are held back each year because they are reading below grade level. To close that gap, the school department will offer more than 500 children full-day kindergarten in 22 classrooms.

This will require eleven new teachers and eleven new teaching assistants. The school department says that can be paid for with federal grants and a boost in state aid.

Paying For It
8:13 am
Thu May 15, 2014

Uncertain Futures As Student Debt Looms Large

Bryant University student Sierra Moore expects to spend more than a decade paying off her student loans.
Credit Elisabeth Harrison

Colleges all across Rhode Island hold graduation ceremonies this month, and many of their students will receive diplomas and then face thousands of dollars in student loans.  

As we continue our series Paying For It: Rhode Islanders Struggle with Student Debt, Rhode Island Public Radio’s Elisabeth Harrison looked at how mounting student loans are impacting students and the decisions they make about their future.

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Politics
2:22 pm
Wed May 14, 2014

Sen. Reed Outlines Bill Lowering Cost Of Student Loan Debt

On Capitol Hill, Sen. Jack Reed joined by Senators Al Franken and Elizabeth Warren outlined legislation Wednesday that curbs student loan debt.

The bill allows federal and private student loans to be refinanced at a lower rate with no refinancing fees. The interest on some loans can reach 14 percent. The bill lowers that to 3.86 percent. Reed said the bill is critical to the country’s future.

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