scott mackay

Richard Culatta, a former Obama Administration education adviser, has been chosen by Rhode Island Gov. Gina Raimondo as the state’s new  $210,000 a year "chief innovation officer."

Raimondo said Culatta will lead an effort to find better approaches to deliver government services in an efficient manner.

Ian Donnis / RIPR

Former Rhode Island House Finance Chairman Steven Costantino is scheduled to meet Thursday with the House Oversight Committee probing the 38 Studios disaster.

House spokesman Larry Berman says Costantino, who now works in state government in Vermont, will meet with the committee to discuss his role in shaping the program that gave the doomed 38 Studios video game company a $75 million taxpayer-guaranteed subsidy.

The committee is slated to meet after the House floor session ends Thursday. The confab is scheduled for room 101 at the Statehouse.

Ian Donnis / RIPR

Gov. Gina Raimondo has harped on creating new manufacturing jobs in Rhode Island since she began running for the governorship in 2014. But since moving into the 2nd floor Statehouse office on Smith Hill, the first-term Democrat changed her tune a bit, especially when it comes to recruiting high-tech companies to come to the Ocean State.

This morning, Raimondo’s face was peering out from the first business page of the Boston Globe. Her message was a distinctly different approach from her emphasis on manufacturing for the Ocean State business crowd.

RIPR FILE

In good tidings for motorists, gasoline prices keep dropping in Rhode Island. Triple A reports that for the first time since March, 2009, that the average gas price has fallen below $2 per gallon.

AAA’s survey of prices in RI, released this morning, shows that self-serve regular unleaded gas is averaging $1.99 per gallon.

The pump price drooped even lower in Massachusetts, where self-serve regular is averaging $1.95 per gallon. January traditionally brings a low demand for motor fuel, according to Mary Maguire, AAA public affairs director.

Aaron Read / RIPR

  It’s the usual mixed bag of good news and not-so-good news as Rhode Island’s unemployment rate dipped one-tenth of a percentage point to 5.2 percent in November, down from 5.3 percent in October, according to data released by the state Department of Labor and Training.

Job gains came in several sectors, including restaurants and hotels, professional and business services,  arts, entertainment and recreation and educational services. But job losses still dog other sectors, including construction, government employment and information.

A group of Rhode Island religious and civil rights groups have scheduled a news conference Tuesday morning to express their support for the Muslim Community in the Ocean State.

Trinity Repertory Company will honor Oskar Eustis and Laurie Eustis with the Claiborne Pell Award for Lifetime Achievement in the Arts. Elizabeth Chace, a Providence business leader and philanthropist, will receive the Charles Sullivan Award for Distinguished Service in the Arts.

The awards will be given at a ceremony to be held May 23rd, 2016. The awards honor the memory of the late U.S. Sen. Claiborne Pell, who was a crucial supporter of the arts during  his 36 years in the Senate.

With the state’s medical landscape in flux, more hospital workers are joining unions. The latest example is Butler Hospital in Providence, where an overwhelming majority of employees from three units voted to join Service Employees International Union’s Local 1199 on a 59-6 tally in a union election.

The new union units include Patient Assessment Service, Intake Coordinators, Clinical Access Specialists and unit secretaries.

RIPR file photo

Paul Campbell, Providence’s veteran city archivist, has been fired just days after being suspended with pay.

On Wednesday Campbell confirmed reports that he has been terminated. He said in an interview that he was given a two-sentence letter by the city clerk that said he would not be reappointed when his term expires in January.

There is disagreement on Campbell’s union status. Campbell said he is a member of Local 1033 of the Laborers International Union of North America and that the union has agreed to file a grievance on his behalf.

Gov. Gina Raimondo’s recent roll out of more than $4 million in job training grants to a bevy of Rhode Island agencies likely includes some money that may end up training Connecticut workers, RIPR has learned.

David Sullivan, Rhode Island’s well-regarded state tax administrator, is leaving his post in state government for a private sector job.

Aaron Read / RIPR

The latest Rhode Island job numbers are the usual mix of good and not-so-good.

While the rest of the country experienced strong job growth in October, Rhode Island did not. Total jobs were down 600 from the September number of 528,100. The long-beleaguered construction sector is finally picking up, adding 500 jobs in October, the largest gain in construction since April, 2006, when 700 jobs were added.

That was tamped down by declines in food services, government employment and manufacturing.

RIPR FILE

A Dartmouth College student visiting Brown University for a weekend Latino Ivy League conference asserted that he was assaulted by a Brown campus police officer Friday evening outside a Spanish House event. 

RIPR FILE

Tourism has long been a foundation of Rhode Island’s economy. As Governor Gina Raimondo’s administration rolls out a new tourism promotion plan, RIPR political analyst Scott MacKay says the state must include local tourism councils in any new initiative.

The Providence Preservation Society is asking Rhode Island Hospital to reconsider its plan to demolish the historic southwest pavilion on the hospital’s South Providence campus.

The building, constructed in 1898, is part of the hospital’s original landscape. After feasibility studies in 2010 and earlier this year, the hospital decided that razing the structure was better than restoring the pavilion due to the high cost of restoration.

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