Ambar Espinoza / RIPR

Nearly three years after Superstorm Sandy, some Rhode Island residents are still dealing with the aftermath. And it’s not just damage to buildings and property. These Rhode Islanders are struggling with mental illness related to stress. 

Lia McLaughlin / U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

Work is underway to remove the White Rock Dam on the Pawcatuck River, along the Rhode Island/Connecticut border.The dam was built in 1940.

The White Rock Dam is located seven miles from the mouth of the Pawcatuck River, near Westerly and Stonington, Ct. Dams have restricted its flow since before the American Revolutionary War. The current dam stands six feet tall and more than 100 feet long. 

Courtesy of Steve Dubois

The Connecticut-based company operating a controversial quarry in Westerly has voluntarily shut down. The quarry has been a source of frustration for residents, who have complained about dust and noise pollution.

Celebrity magazines are reporting that Pop Star Taylor Swift is in Rhode Island, where she plans to host a barbeque for the 4th of July.

Scottish musician Calvin Harris posted a photo of Swift on Instagram at what looks like her Watch Hill Mansion. Swift can be seen grilling vegetables on a flagstone deck with the ocean in the background.

US Weekly reports that Swift hosted a 4th of July party last year at her multi-million dollar home in Westerly. This year the magazine reports her preparations include a large slide, and several deliveries.

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

The Department of Environmental Management has announced the closure of two areas in Charlestown; trails through East Beach and Ninigret Conservation Area. The trails are closed as of Tuesday, to protect Piping Plover nesting areas. 

The small shore bird is endangered and makes its home in the Ocean State.

Wikimedia Commons

The town of Westerly plans to spray for mosquitoes Friday. Helicopters will drop granules of mosquito larvicide on about 500 acres in Chapman Swamp. 


Wikimedia Commons

The house finance committee is set to hear testimony this week regarding portions of the proposed state budget. The agenda includes the so-called “Taylor Swift Tax.”

It’s known that way because of the pop singer who owns a multi-million dollar vacation home in Westerly… the budget article proposes a property tax on vacation homes worth more than one million dollars.

National Grid has completed installing the last of seven weather stations throughout Rhode Island. This program collects local weather information in real time.

The weather stations are strategically located in Coventry, Bristol, Charlestown, Exeter, Hopkinton, and Little Compton. The town of Westerly has had its weather station for only a couple of weeks, and already it’s proved to be useful, said Amy Grzybowski, the town’s emergency management director.

Ambar Espinoza / RIPR

The head of the Environmental Protection Agency’s New England region is in Rhode Island Wednesday. Curt Spalding will survey parts of the state, to see which are at risk to storms and increased sea level rise.

For two days, the EPA’s Curt Spalding will tour areas in Westerly, South Kingstown, North Kingstown and Warwick. The idea behind the tour is twofold: to examine at-risk areas, and share ideas and existing tools for how to plan for rising seas and more violent storms.

Aaron Read / RIPR

It’s New Year’s Eve, and though there is no city-wide celebration in Providence this year, there are still plenty of ways to ring in the New Year in the state’s capital.

Providence’s ample restaurants and nightclubs have you covered if you want your standard New Year’s fete. For something a little different head over to performance space AS220 for a night full of live comedy.  For the more adventurous find out what the “Psycho-magical beach party” is at the Providence community space and nightclub Aurora.

Last week the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced that Westerly's Copar Quarries, now named Armetta, LLC., paid a hefty $80,000 for violating federal clean air standards. The agency also reports the quarry operation is now meeting clean air rules. Rhode Island Public Radio’s environmental reporter Ambar Espinoza has the EPA’s response to affected neighbors who disagree with the agency's assessment.

Photo Courtesy of Steve Dubois

Last week, the Environmental Protection Agency reported Copar Quarries in Westerly has paid $80,000 in penalties for violating federal clean air standards. According to EPA officials, the quarry is now in compliance. Not so, say neighbors who live near the quarry. Their lawyer is calling for a new investigation into dust and other concerns associated with the operation.

Google Earth Images

A Superior Court judge recently ruled homeowners in Westerly seeking remedy for alleged nuisance from a neighboring quarry operation have the right to do so.

When two families filed a lawsuit against the quarry owner, Westerly Granite Inc., the quarry operators, Armetta LLC, formerly known as Copar Quarries, LLC, and the subconstractor Maine Drilling and Blasting, Westerly Granite responded with a counter complaint.

Google Earth Images

On the surface, this story is about sand and gravel. And it’s not, actually. It's a story about how stone becomes sand and gravel. And about the people who built homes around what used to be a dormant quarry in Westerly. It’s the first installment of a two-part series.

Charlestown resident Denise Rhodes lives about 1,000 feet away from this quarry, just across the border in Westerly. She invited local town council members and Rhode Island Public Radio to her house on a day when the town issued a “Code Red alert.” 

John Bender / RIPR

Rhode Island has received more than $2.7 million to clean up contaminated properties in Pawtucket, Providence, and Westerly.

Senator Jack Reed says these federal grants awarded through the Environmental Protection Agency’s Brownfields Program will help local governments protect public health and redevelop former industrial sites for better use. Reed says it’ll also benefit the economy by creating jobs and increasing the value of surrounding properties.