Rhode Island

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration plans to continue to monitor daily the three beluga whales exploring Narragansett Bay. Biologists want to make sure they return safely back to their Arctic habitat.

James Skeffington, the Providence lawyer and longtime Rhode Island deal-maker who served as the public face of the new ownership of the Pawtucket Red Sox, died Sunday at age 73.

Skeffington was the top public spokesman and cheerleader for the group that bought the PawSox in February.

Mystic Aquarium

Three beluga whales have been spotted off Rhode Island's coast in Narragansett Bay, a bizarre diversion for a species generally found much farther north. 

The parent company of Twin River presented few details to the Tiverton town council regarding its plans to move Newport Grand’s gaming license to Tiverton.

“Tonight we’re here with a clean slate,” said John Taylor, chairman of the Twin River management group's board, said at a town council meeting last night. He brought a set of maps that showed the site the company secured in Tiverton, about 400 feet from the Massachusetts border.

Providence Mayor Jorge Elorza said he was racially profiled by police "countless times" as a youth and young man in Rhode Island's capital city.

"It's just part of growing up in the city -- which is very unfortunate and sad," Elorza, a son of Guatemalan immigrants, said Thursday during a taping of Rhode Island Public Radio's Political Roundtable. "I've been pulled over a number of times, so I'm sensitive to that."

State Representative Patricia Morgan (R-West Warwick) says she plans to introduce a bill Wednesday that would allow voters to decide if the new owners of the PawSox can use public financing or tax relief to build their envisioned ballpark on former I-195 land in Providence.

    

Residents across the state are digging out of the blizzard that dumped more than two feet on parts of the state. Gov. Gina Raimondo lifted the state’s travel ban last night. She thanked Rhode Islanders for staying off the roads. There was a fire in Providence and a handful of accidents, but no major injuries from the storm.

Just this week, the U.S. Senate went on the record that climate change exists. Local and state officials in Rhode Island haven’t been waiting around to take the lead from Washington. They not only know climate change is real, but they’re also planning for its impacts. As part of our Battle With The Sea series, Rhode Island Public Radio’s environmental reporter Ambar Espinoza went on a tour with the Environmental Protection Agency’s northeast director to see how plans are in place.

Chion Wolf / WNPR

Rhode Island's governor-elect Gina Raimondo has picked Connecticut Education Commissioner Stefan Pryor, a fellow Yale alum with experience leading economic-development efforts in New York and New Jersey, as her choice to be Rhode Island's first commerce secretary.

Within four years, the town of Westerly experienced four major storms: the Great Flood of 2010, Hurricane Irene in 2011, Superstorm Sandy in 2012, and the February 2013 Nor’easter. Like many coastal cities and towns around the state, Westerly is also vulnerable to high tides that flood roads even without storms.

Christopher Penn / Creative Commons

Voting in one Rhode Island town next Tuesday won't be quick. The Providence Journal reports that voters in Barrington will confront 40 ballot questions proposing changes in how government operates.

Independent mayoral candidate Buddy Cianci released his plan for Providence Public Schools this week.

Noting that Providence students score well below average on standardized state tests, the former mayor, and twice convicted felon, focused on the need to provide quality education to all of the city’s children.

If voters re-elect him, Cianci said he would  give principals more autonomy, echoing a move already afoot in the district towards a policy known as “site-based management.” He proposed giving each school a

Three of Rhode Island's top former federal prosecutors staged a news conference Tuesday to discuss Providence mayoral candidate Buddy Cianci's criminal record and their concerns about his latest attempt to win back control of City Hall.

A woman is in custody after throwing white powder in the lobby of the U.S. Attorney’s office in downtown Providence. The woman entered the office at around 11:00am Wednesday, had a brief conversation with a security guard, then tossed the white powder.

That prompted an evacuation, said the U.S. Attorney’s spokesman Jim Martin. He said Providence police, fire, state police and a hazmat unit responded to the incident.

Sam Churchill / Creative Commons

Many cities across the country are bringing back the streetcar. Providence, Rhode Island just received $13 million in federal TIGER grant funding to build a streetcar system. Could a Connecticut city be far behind?

Providence mayoral candidate Buddy Cianci is walking back an earlier assertion that he won’t take campaign contributions from city employees. Rival candidate Jorge Elorza is calling on Cianci to return about $18,000 in donations from city employees.

This is Cianci speaking during a September 17debate, sounding unequivocal. While criticizing the amount of openness at City Hall, he rejected the idea of accepting city employees’ campaign contributions.

"There’s been no transparency and by the way, I haven’t taken a dime from any city worker nor do I intend to."

Mark Barden, the father of one of the schoolchildren killed in the Sandy Hook Elementary School shootings will address the Rhode Island Coalition against Gun Violence on Thursday, as the coalition marks its first anniversary.

Barden has become a national advocate for reducing gun violence. He says he still struggles to deal with the death of his son, Daniel, nearly two years after the Sandy Hook tragedy.

Powered by the top-spending campaign, state Treasurer Gina Raimondo scored a decisive Democratic gubernatorial victory over her two main rivals Tuesday, in a campaign dominated by debate about Rhode Island's long-suffering economy and the pension overhaul spearheaded by Raimondo in 2011.

Unofficial returns showed Raimondo with 42 percent of the vote, compared with 29 percent for Angel Taveras, and 27 percent for Clay Pell.

Raimondo, 43, used her victory speech at the Met, a music club in Pawtucket, to vow to put Rhode Islanders back to work.

Brett Smiley ended his Providence mayoral campaign Friday and threw his support behind fellow Democrat Jorge Elorza. The decision basically sets the stage for a head-to-head September 9th primary battle between Elorza and City Council President Michael Solomon, the acknowledged front-runner in the race.

Smiley's announcement came exactly 24 hours after his latest policy proposal, a road-improvement plan touted during a news conference near the Providence train station.

CVS Caremark will be joining Walgreens in allowing pharmacists to dispense a life-saving antidote for drug overdoses, without a prescription. That means that soon Narcan will be much more widely available throughout the state.

Rhode Island Hospital drug abuse epidemiologist Traci Green has been working with a statewide overdose prevention task force to get Narcan – also known as naloxone—into as many hands as possible. The drug can rescue someone who has overdosed on an opioid like heroin or prescription painkiller OxyContin.

The rising number of casinos in New England that’s hurting the Foxwoods Resort Casino is both a threat to table games in Rhode Island and the reason to add more.

Analyst Clyde Barrow said the Foxwoods Resort and Casino in Connecticut has been losing millions of dollars since its peak in 2006. To blame: a slow economic recovery and a growing number of casinos in New England.

A new coalition of public and private unions, banding together under the name Working Families for Angel, on Monday announced their support for Angel Taveras' gubernatorial campaign.

Working Families for Angel says it plans to communicate with more than 16,000 union households through door-knocking, electronic communications and other means.

State officials hosted a ceremonial signing this afternoon in North Kingstown Town Beach for Rhode Island’s first comprehensive climate change bill. Gov. Lincoln Chafee signed the bill into law last month.

The governor noted Wickford Cove experienced a little tsunami last year. He said that’s just one reason why the General Assembly passed this bill into law: to better prepare the state for future extreme weather events.

Researchers at the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute and the University of Rhode Island published surprising findings of a deep sea octopus that guarded her eggs for 4-½ years. This is the longest brooding period ever recorded by any animal on the planet.

The U.S. Bureau of Energy Management has awarded Rhode Island $200,000 to identify offshore sand and gravel resources for replenishing beaches. This is part of a federal effort to help coastal communities recover from Superstorm Sandy and prepare for future major storms.

Mystic Aquarium

Two five-month-old seal pups rescued in March have returned to the Atlantic Ocean after recovering from their injuries at the Mystic Aquarium.

After claiming not to have his mind made up before taking to the airwaves for his afternoon talk show, 73-year-old Vincent A. "Buddy" Cianci Jr. revealed Wednesday he's staging an improbable comeback to become the next mayor of Providence.Rhode Island Public Radio political analyst Scott MacKay discusses the implications of another Buddy run on Providence and the state.

Mamata.mulay / Creative Commons

Connecticut has a complicated relationship with the death penalty. Over more than 50 years, the state executed just two death row inmates because they asked for it. Two years ago it was repealed for cases moving forward, but last week, one more man was sentenced to die for a crime he committed before the repeal.

Updated at 1:55 a.m. EDT Monday:

Inspectors have yet to determine what caused Sunday's horrifying accident during a Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus performance in Providence, R.I.

Rhode Island Hospital in Providence admitted 11 patients with varying injuries, spokeswoman Jill Reuter told The Associated Press. One was said to be in critical condition. Nine performers were injured when a support apparatus failed during an aerial stunt, while an unknown number of others suffered less serious injuries.

Parades, social clubs and awards dinners are part of the routine of political campaigns everywhere. But if you're running to be Rhode Island's next governor, then there's one more stop you just can't miss.

Namely, the makeshift studios of Latino Public Radio, which is housed in a two-story, single-family home complete with a living room, dog and cat.

This local Spanish-language radio station based in Cranston, R.I., was co-founded almost a decade ago by Pablo Rodriguez.

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