John Bender

Reporter

John started at RIPR in 2013 as the Morning Edition producer; researching stories, interviewing newsmakers, and writing scripts for stories every morning.  Plus special projects and regular reporting on major events.  In early 2017 he was promoted to "general assignment" reporter.  Whatever's happening in the news today?  That's what John is covering. 

Ways to Connect

RIPR FILE

Interns, volunteers, and nannies are all either unmentioned or specifically excluded from harassment and other protections under Rhode Island's Fair Employment Practices Act. 

John Bender / RIPR

Rhode Island has banned the use and sale of bump stocks, and now allows the court-ordered removal of firearms from individuals deemed dangerous. Governor Gina Raimondo signed the bills into law Friday.

The two gun control measures moved through the general assembly swiftly following several high-profile shootings across the country, notably the February attack at a high school in Parkland Florida which left 17 people dead. The bill passed despite protests from gun rights activists, who say it does not address the illegal firearms trade.

John Bender / RIPR

Immigrant rights activists protested in front of the Customs and Border Protection office in Cranston Friday. The local group was spurred to action by two recent federal immigration controversies.

The first was the revelation in April that the U.S. Government has been unable to contact some 1,500 undocumented children, placed with sponsors across the U.S.

The second was the May announcement by the Trump administration that it would press criminal charges against people crossing the border without authorization, which would involve separating minors from their parents.

Aaron Read / RIPR

It wasn't just any pothole.

It was more like a void, measuring four feet long and four feet wide. And it caused a traffic jam for miles.

Construction crews spent time late Thursday evening filling in the giant pothole, which opened up on Intersate 195.

The hole was the reason for snarled traffic around Providence Wednesday afternoon and evening. The state Department of Transportation says the problem is now fixed.

Elisabeth Harrison / RIPR

When census testing wraps up in Providence County, we’ll get the newest snapshot of the residents around Rhode Island’s capital city. The results will also give us a sense for how segregated the metro area is.

John Bender / RIPR

In an overwhelming majority, the Rhode Island Senate passed two bills aimed at curbing gun violence in Rhode Island.

One bill would allow for the court-ordered seizure of firearms from individuals deemed dangerous, also known as a red flag policy. The other bans modifications to guns, allowing them to shoot off bullets at a higher rate.

Jennifer Boylan regularly advocates for gun control at the Statehouse as a volunteer with Moms Demand Action. She hopes the General Assembly will move forward on other gun control measures.

Matt Sledge / Creative Commons License via flickr

If you face foreclosure in Rhode Island, you’re guaranteed a sit-down with your bank, to try and mediate a deal. But that guarantee is set to expire in July.

That has housing advocates and local leaders concerned that foreclosures will once again blight neighborhoods with abandoned properties. They’re pushing legislation that would extend the program, until at least 2023.     

Adopted in 2013, after the housing crisis, some 700 homeowners have avoided foreclosure as a result of these mediation session, according to Barbara Fields, director of Rhode Island Housing.  

Volvo Ocean Race

Sailors in the around-the-world Volvo Ocean race are coursing through the Atlantic Ocean on their way to New England. 

Elisabeth Harrison / RIPR

Advocates for victims of sexual abuse are imploring lawmakers to repeal Rhode Island’s seven-year statute of limitations for pressing civil charges when the alleged victim is a minor.

A bill introduced by Sen. Donna Nesselbush would repeal the statute of limitations for any type of sexual abuse of a minor. Rhode Island currently has no statute of limitations in cases of first-degree sexual assault.

The House Judiciary Committee voted Wednesday to hold a bill to require armed campus police at Rhode Island’s public colleges for further study.

RIPR FILE

On Wednesday lawmakers will consider arming campus police at Rhode Island College and the Community College of Rhode Island. The University of Rhode Island armed campus police in 2015.

The bill would mandate the arming of campus police at all state colleges and universities. The legislation comes amid a growing debate about arming school personnel, after recent, deadly shootings at places like Florida’s Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

As New Bedford slows the rollout of recreational marijuana shops, Fall River is preparing for a windfall. Fall River will impose a three percent tax on retail sales of recreational pot.

Starting this summer, Massachusetts will begin opening retail recreational marijuana shops. Cities and towns are allowed to place an extra tax on local sales. The Fall River City Council voted in favor of a three percent local tax last week.

Mayor Jasiel Correia supports the tax, and said the revenue will go back into the community.

dank_depot / Creative Commons License via flickr

New Bedford is putting a hold on retail sales of recreational marijuana, as shops prepare to come online in the Bay State this July. The New Bedford City Council has voted to wait until October.

Firefighters and emergency medical staff at Newport’s Naval Station regularly lied about training they never received. The revelations come from a newly completed investigation by the Navy Inspector General.

The Navy Inspector General began investigating after a whistleblower issued a complaint that he was marked as having completed training he’d never attended. Upon deeper investigation, the Inspector General found emergency management staff at the station routinely falsified such medical and safety trainings.

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