scott mackay

Lipofsky Basketballphoto.com

Basketball icon Bill Walton, one of only four players in history to win multiple NCAA and NBA championships, will deliver the commencement address at New England Institute of Technology’s commencement exercises on May 1 at the Rhode Island Convention Center in Providence.

Rhode Islanders will particularly remember Walton coming off the bench in 1986 to help the Larry Bird-led Boston Celtics to the NBA championship. Walton won the NBA’ s `Sixth Man of the Year’ award that year.

U.S. Labor Department

U.S. Labor Secretary Thomas Perez will be the commencement speaker at Roger Williams University Law School commencement exercises on May 13th at the school’s Bristol campus.

Perez, the son of immigrants from the Dominican Republic, is no stranger to Rhode Island. He is a 1983 Brown University graduate, who later earned a graduate degree in political science from Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government and a law degree from Harvard’s Law School.

    

Cumberland State Representative Karen MacBeth, who last week changed her party affiliation from Democrat to Republican, announced Monday that she will run for the Republican nomination for the U.S. House in the First District, a seat currently held by Democrat David Cicilline of Providence.

  Dr. Barry Black, the first African-American to serve as U.S. Senate chaplain, returns to his alma mater to serve as commencement speaker at Salve Regina University at the university’s 66th commencement on May 15 in Newport.

Elected in 2003 as the first black Senate chaplain, Black had served in the U.S. Navy for 27 years, retiring as a Rear Admiral and chief of Navy chaplains. He received a master’s degree in human development from Salve Regina in 1989.

RI Superior Court

Rhode Island Superior Court Judge Patricia A. Hurst, a jurist of wit, wisdom and legal acumen, is retiring after 26 years on the state trial court.

Hurst sent her retirement letter to Gov. Gina Raimondo today and plans to leave by the end of April.

RIPR file photo

Dr. Arun Singh, one of New England’s top cardiac surgeons, is ending surgeries next month after performing more than 20,000 open heart surgeries on adults and children at Rhode Island’s Lifespan hospital system.

Sign’s announcement ``marks the close of a truly remarkable one-of-a-kind era at Rhode Island Hospital and Lifespan,’’ stated Dr. Timothy Babineau, president  and CEO of Lifespan in a message to the hospital community.

James Baumgartner / RIPR

Even though they are illegal, it’s the season of March Madness and gambling pools.

Now, an East Providence state representative wants to make those bracket basketball bets legal in Rhode Island.

Rep. Gregg Amore, a Democrat, has introduced a bill to make `social gaming’ in private residences, taverns and private clubs legal, so long is there is a `social relationship’ among bettors and no person other than bettors receive anything of value.

RIPR FILE

Bishop Thomas J. Tobin, Roman Catholic Bishop of Providence, today announced his support for providing Rhode Island drivers’ licenses for undocumented immigrants.

In his statement, Bishop Tobin noted that Catholic bishops in the United States have supported enactment of comprehensive immigration reform. ``Until that finally happens, particular, ad hoc issues such as providing drivers licenses for undocumented individuals will inevitably arise,’’ said Tobin.

World Travel and Tourism Council

Robert Redford and Rooney Mara are teaming up to bring Hollywood to Rhode Island. That’s the word from Steve Feinberg, executive director of the Rhode Island Film and Television Office.

Redford and Mara will star in "The Discovery," a science-fiction love story set in a world where the existence of the afterlife is scientifically proven.

Redford returns to the Ocean State for the first time since his lead role in "The Great Gatsby," the 1974 movie filmed in Newport, adapted from F. Scott Fitzgerald's Jazz Age novel.

Since 2014, Rhode Island’s large and diverse Irish-American community has been working to remember and commemorate Ireland’s 1916 `Easter Rising.’

Now, a 1916 Easter Rising exhibit is on display at the Providence Public Library. It will be displayed from March 1st until March 31st.

  Zachary Sherman, who has been acting director of HealthSource RI, Rhode Island’s Obamacare health insurance exchange, has been chosen as the new director, state Administration Director Michael DiBiase announced today.

Sherman, a longtime health care consultant, has been the interim director since November, 2015. A Vermont native, Sherman took over the post when Anya Rader Wallack left it to become executive director of the state’s Medicaid program.

RIPR FILE

Some good news for Gov. Gina Raimondo and the Rhode Island General Assembly in the latest revenue numbers for fiscal year 2016 from the state Department of Revenue.

Through January, both the personal income tax collections and the sales tax receipts are exceeding state projections. Income tax collections are running nearly four percent –3.8 percent—ahead of estimates. The sales levy is bringing in 3.4 percent more than estimates.

Gage Skidmore / Southern New Hampshire University/flickr

Rhode Islander Tad Devine is the chief messenger for insurgent Bernie Sanders presidential campaign. RIPR political analyst Scott MacKay caught up with Devine recently to talk about Sanders surprising success.

President Obama intends to appoint Providence native Tom Donilon, the president’s former National Security Advisor, to be chairman of the federal  Commission on Enhancing National Cybersecurity, according to a top White House aide.

Mr. Obama also intends to tap Sam Palmisano, former CEO of IBM, as the vice-chairman of the commission.

It’s that time of the year again – As the song trills: It’s Follies Time at The Veeeenus De Milo!

Longtime Rhode Islanders know what that means. So for the uninitiated, or if you’ve been living in a yurt for the past year, the event is always held the last Friday in February, which is Feb. 26th this year. It is the social and political event of the season -  the Providence Newspaper Guild’s annual Follies show at the Venus de Milo in Swansea, Mass.

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