The first general election poll is out in the Rhode Island governor campaign and the kickoff television debate is Thursday. RIPR political analyst Scott MacKay says Republican Allan Fung’s biggest obstacle is the lack of unity in his own party. (Advance copy of comentary scheduled to air Monday.)

It wasn’t that long ago that the Rhode Island Republican Party was a viable force in state elections. Voters in what has been a reliably Democratic state since Franklin Roosevelt’s administration once regularly elected Republicans to the governorship and the U.S. House and Senate.

John Bender / RIPR

Providence school and city officials are bracing for a possible strike by the city’s school bus drivers. The city has no back up for transportation.

That means the more than 9,000 students who could be affected would have to find alternative ways of getting to school. The drivers’ union, Teamsters Local 251, and the Ohio-based bus company, First Student, are currently in a contract dispute.

Charles Rappleye, a great Los Angeles-based reporter and acclaimed author who  wrote about everything from Providence’s Brown family and slave trading to crooked cops, has died after a battle with cancer. He was 62.

Rappleye, the brother of WJAR political reporter Bill Rappleye, was known as a resolute investigative reporter who focused on those not usually featured in mainstream journalism. “He was especially interested in the telling the stories of the overlooked,” stated his obituary in the Los Angeles Times.

It’s been about a year since water supply board Providence Water rolled out a loan program for customers looking to replace their lead pipes, and they say it's been off to a good start. 

Warwick Police have identified the body discovered in the Pawtuxet River Wednesday afternoon.  An investigation remains ongoing.

Police have identified a 55 year-old Cranston resident, and believe the cause of death was related to suicide. Next of kin have been notified. The police discovered the body while looking for a mannequin during a routine search and rescue training in the Pawtuxet River.

Ian Donnis / RIPR

A new poll commissioned by WPRI-TV and Roger William University shows that Rhode Island Gov. Gina Raimondo, a Democrat, has opened a seven-point lead over her Republican rival, Cranston Mayor Allan Fung.

Lynn Arditi / RIPR

The Miriam Hospital has received a $2.5 million federal grant to improve addiction and mental health treatment for gay and bisexual men.

Providence College Athletics / Stew Milne

Mark Adams, a former Providence College defenseman who played on the Friars 2015 national championship hockey team, died suddenly Monday. He was 27.

Ian Donnis / RIPR

A handful of state representatives have said they will no longer support Rhode Island House Speaker Nicholas Mattiello, but a potential successor to Mattiello said Wednesday that he still backs the speaker and expects him to maintain his hold next year on the top position in the House of Representatives.

In an unusual development, state Rep. Deborah Ruggiero (D-Jamestown) used a news release to announce that Mattiello has lost her vote.

Erin X. Smithers

Back in the late 1990s Brown University professor Paula Vogel won a Pulitzer Prize for her play “How I Learned to Drive,” a startling work about guilt, need and levels of responsibility. Now Providence’s Wilbury Group has brought the play back. Rhode Island Public Radio’s Bill Gale says its more vibrant, and necessary, than ever.

This I Believe New England: A Surprising Teacher

Sep 18, 2018

Life’s most important lessons come our way from so many sources and directions, often when we least expect them.  Some of the lessons we learn are predictable, say when we park ourselves in lecture hall seats.  Others are much more spontaneous and unanticipated, often in delightful ways.  The chance encounter with a sage seatmate on an airplane flight who shares what she’s learned about aging gracefully.  The person standing behind us in the supermarket checkout lane who waxes philosophically about life’s enduring riddles.

JACLOU-DL / Pixabay

A New England-based environmental advocacy group says the region is making progress improving air quality, but more work needs to done. 

Ian Donnis / RIPR

Republican gubernatorial candidate Allan Fung and other campaigns condemned Tuesday the use of a noose to display a Fung campaign side in Chepachet.

Aaron Reed / RIPR

Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Rhode Island has been improperly denying claims for mental health and addiction treatment, according to the results of an examination by the state Office of the Health Insurance Commissioner (OHIC).

Bruce Detorres / Flickr

North Smithfield's Town Council will revisit a previously approved nonbinding resolution to boycott Nike products because of public backlash.

Town Council President John Beauregard said Wednesday he has called a special meeting for Monday to make a motion to recall the vote, which passed by a 3-2 vote earlier this week.

The resolution brought immediate criticism from the state's NAACP and American Civil Liberties Union,  whose director called it "a disdain for both freedom and equality."