Research out of the University of Rhode Island shows that more and more, people are living in communities with a common political view. And the political sorting is becoming more polarized with each election.

Are Republicans and Democrats living side by side? That’s what URI professor Shanna Pearson-Merkowitz wanted to know, so she poured over election data and relocation patterns from 1976 to 2012. She found that communities are becoming more politically polarized, but not because people were moving.

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 Mark Higgins, dean of the University of Rhode Island’s College of Business. They discuss the bond issues on the November ballot including the infrastructure, environmental and arts bonds, and why borrowing more money now may not be a bad idea.

When to Listen

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

Ambar Espinoza / RIPR

For the past 55 years, researchers and students from the University of Rhode Island’s Graduate School of Oceanography have trawled Narragansett Bay on a weekly basis. These trawls are one of the world's longest running surveys that track the type of fish that come and go from season to season. For our One Square Mile: Narragansett Bay series, we turn to these trawls to give us a snapshot of how fish have responded to changes.

Three URI students board the 53-foot research vessel Cap'n Bert at Wickford Harbor, as they do each week, to trawl the bay at two stations.

Rhode Island Public Radio’s Environmental Reporter, Ambar Espinoza will host a public forum and conversation on the changing fisheries in Narragansett Bay.

This forum will be broadcast live on Thursday, October 9, 2014 from 7:00 PM to 8:00 PM on Rhode Island Public Radio: 88.1 FM/102.7 FM/91.5 FM and RIPR.ORG.

The University of Rhode Island has begun training campus police officers to carry guns after a controversial decision in April to arm the campus police force.

Public Safety Stephen Baker says the goal is to have all 27 campus officers carrying guns by the start of the Spring semester. 

"State police have completed 17 of the background checks and they’ve been delivered to us. The next step in that process is to have those officers go through psychological examinations," Baker said. "Then we’ll begin the actual firearms training, and that’s planned for the month of October."

The University of Rhode Island kicks off its annual Honors Colloquium lecture series Tuesday.  This year’s theme is cyber security.

Stories of computer hacking seem to be all over the news these days.  Most recently Home Depot’s payment systems were hacked, leaving debit card information potentially exposed. URI professor of computer science Ed LaMagna said that most people are unaware just how vulnerable they are online.

RISCA Puts Out Call For Art For New URI Building

Jun 13, 2014

The Rhode Island State Council on the Arts has put out a call for new art.  The work will be installed at the University of Rhode Island’s brand new center for chemical and life sciences.


Rev. Bernard Lafayette Jr., a leader in the civil rights movement, will speak at the University of Rhode Island Tuesday.

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.

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.

Elisabeth Harrison / RIPR

Many Rhode Islanders are paying off student loans that average more than $31,000, one of the highest student debt burdens in the nation. As we continue our series Paying for It: Rhode Islanders Struggle With Student Debt, we look at what happens when those loans are too much to handle.

Rhode Island Public Radio’s Education reporter Elisabeth Harrison met Allison Dean at her house on a quiet street in Warwick, sandwiched between the airport and Narragansett Bay.

Elisabeth Harrison / RIPR

Rhode Island has the fifth highest rate of student loan debt in the country and experts say part of the reason is the large number of expensive, private colleges, like Bryant University, Providence College and Salve Regina in Newport. One of the most expensive is the Rhode Island School of Design.

Rhode Island Public Radio’s education reporter, Elisabeth Harrison, met one graduate now staring down hundreds of thousands of dollars in student loans.

Thousands of colleges seniors receive their diplomas this month in Rhode Island and across the nation.  And thousands of them will soon have to start paying off their student loans. 

Rhode Island has one of the highest rates of student debt in the nation; the average burden on students in the class of 2012 was more than $30,000, according to a study by the Institute for College Access and Success.

As part of our series looking at what it's like to live with student debt, Rhode Island Public Radio's Elisabeth Harrison spoke with Lauren Asher, the Institute's director.

Narragansett Town Officials React To URI Student Riot

May 8, 2014

Narragansett Town Manager Pamela Nolan says that an off-campus party attended by 800 to 1,000 University of Rhode Island students over the past weekend turned into a riot. Beer bottles were thrown and property was destroyed on Greene Lane where the riot took place. Nolan says that although the town residents were upset over the incident, it was out of the ordinary.

Allergy Season Expected To Be Especially Harsh

May 7, 2014
Wikimedia Commons

Experts are predicting an unusually bad allergy season with high levels of pollen this year. They note that the cold and wet spring has delayed the onset of pollen production and will cause many types of plants to produce allergens at once. Professor Keith Killingbeck of The University of Rhode Island said he was surprised by the intensity of the allergen levels.