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  The 195 Redevelopment Commission has decided to open to the public Monday’s meeting with the new owners of the Pawtucket Red Sox, who want to move the team from McCoy Stadium to a new ballpark that would be built on about 9 acres of former 195 land on the Providence riverfront.

Principal owners Larry Lucchino and James Skeffington are scheduled to discuss the stadium plans with commission members. The meeting was originally scheduled as an executive session that was to have been closed to the public.

The debate over Rhode Island taxpayer support for a new stadium for the PawSox in Providence has started. RIPR Political Analyst Scott MacKay talks about state government’s next move.

Listening to the opening salvos in the Providence stadium debate reminds one of William Faulkner’s dictum about the American South: "The past is never dead. It isn’t even past.’’

The last budget crafted by former Gov. Lincoln Chafee’s administration and the General Assembly seems to be holding up fairly well, according to the latest revenue assessment by the Rhode Island  Department of Revenue.

The official state bean-counters say that adjusted total general revenues are up about $61 million more than expected in the current budget year, which ends on June 30. This is good news for a state that has been slowly emerging from the recession.

The 2.6 percent increase in revenues is fueled by increases in the personal income tax and the corporate tax.

One interest group that is already lining up support for a new Pawtucket Red Sox stadium in Providence: Organized labor.

Scott Duhamel, secretary-treasurer of the Rhode Island Building Trades Council emerged from a press briefing this afternoon by James Skeffington, president of the team and quickly said the building trades unions are planning to be vocal backers of the deal.

``We are all in, 100 percent,’’ said Duhamel. ``This may end up being our number one legislative priority this year.’’

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Debra Messing, the East-Greenwich raised actress known for her role in the ``Will and Grace’’ television sitcom and Woonsocket Jazz club owner John Chan will both be honored with Pell Awards at Trinity Reparatory Theater’s annual tribute to the arts and the memory of the late U.S. Sen. Claiborne Pell.

The ceremonies are scheduled for June 15 at Trinity Rep, with a reception to follow at the nearby Providence Public Library.

John Bender / RIPR

The Chairman of the National Endowment for the Humanities visited Rhode Island Monday. 

The agency has invested millions of dollars in Rhode Island cultural institutions including the Rhode Island Historical Society and Brown University. NEH also has roots in Rhode Island. It was created thanks in part to a bill sponsored by the late Rhode Island Senator Claiborne Pell. NEH Chair William Adams spoke with Rhode Island Public Radio Political Analyst Scott MacKay about that history and why he thinks the federal government should continue funding for the humanities.

Major Gen. Kevin R. McBride, adjutant general of Rhode Island, is retiring in June, Gov. Gina Raimondo announced in a news release.

McBride has served as adjutant general since his appointment by then-Gov. Lincoln Chafee in 2010, and took over command of the 3,300 member Rhode Island National Guard.

Cade Tompkins Projects

Lincoln Chafee’s announcement that he is seriously considering a campaign for the 2016 Democratic presidential  nomination brings to mind sports broadcaster Al Michaels’ famous call from the USA hockey team’s upset victory over the USSR in the 1980 winter Olympics: Do you Believe in Miracles?

That’s pretty much what is would take for Chafee to move into 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue in January 2017.

Former Rhode Island Gov. Lincoln Chafee has announced that he is considering a campaign for the 2016 Democratic nomination for president.

The 62-year old former U.S. Senator and governor said in an interview that he wants to give Democratic voters a choice for president. ``The Republicans have lots of choices, I feel that Democratic voters deserve choices too.’’

Chafee said the launch of his exploratory committee will be made via videos posted on his website,

Rhode Island’s General Assembly today will commemorate the centennial anniversary of the Armenian genocide. Rep. Katherine Kazarian, D-East Providence, will introduce a resolution calling on President Obama to formally recognize the genocide.

In a joint ceremony with the Armenian National Committee of Rhode Island, the ceremony will feature clergy from the state’s three Armenian churches, followed by the presentation of colors and the singing of Mer Hairenick, the Armenian national anthem. A speaking program is also planned.

Nathaniel Philbrick, a National Book Award winner and bestselling author, will be the commencement speaker at Roger Williams University for the 2015 graduation exercises.

Philbrick is a noted author who has made New England’s early history accessible to academics and lay readers alike, will receive an honorary degree at the university’s commencement ceremonies on Saturday, May 16.

Michelle Kwan, the most celebrated figure skater in U.S. history and spouse of unsuccessful R.I. gubernatorial candidate Clay Pell, has been chosen to deliver the commencement address at Salve Regina University in Newport.

Kwan, now a U.S. State Department official and a U.S. public diplomacy envoy, was recently nominated to serve on the board of the Rhode Island State Council on the Arts.

A graduate of the University of Denver, Kwan also earned a master’s degree from Tufts University’s Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, majoring in international relations.

Keith Allison / via Flickr Creative Commons

New England Tech has landed a big speaker for the school’s 75th commencement – former New England Patriot and fan favorite Vince Wilfork, one of the NFL’s best defensive tackles.

Wilfork, at 6 foot 2 inches and 325 pounds, was with the Pats for eleven years and was a member of the 2015 Super Bowl champions. He recently became a free agent and will play next season for the Houston Texans. His jersey was number 75.

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President Barack Obama today declared a disaster declaration for Rhode Island and ordered federal aid to supplement state, tribal and local recovery efforts in the area affected by the huge snowstorm that blanketed the state between Jan. 26 and 28.

The White House said in a news release that federal funding is available to local governments and certain non-profit organizations on a cost-sharing basis for emergency work and for repair or replacement of facilities damaged by the storm in all of the state’s five counties.


Rhode Island has long been engaged in a debate about government benefits for the poor. RIPR political analyst Scott MacKay says our state isn’t as generous as most other New England states on helping those with less.

House Speaker Nick Mattiello, D-Cranston has heard the complaints for years from conservatives and some elements of the business community:  That Rhode Island’s overly generous social welfare programs handcuff taxpayers and harm the state’s business climate.