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Environment

New e-bike rebate program in Rhode Island named in honor of late Baltimore Sun reporter

Erika A. Niedowksi was a Pulitzer Prize finalist in 2004 for a story about an 18-month child who died as a result of medical mistakes.

EAST PROVIDENCE, R.I. — Rhode Island residents who buy electric bicycles will soon be eligible for rebates under a program announced Wednesday and named in honor of a former Baltimore Sun and Associated Press reporter.

The $250,000 Erika Niedowski Memorial Electric Bike Rebate Program will offer rebates of up to $1,000 or 75% of the final purchase price, whichever is less, to low- and moderate-income residents, and rebates of up to $400 or 30% of the final purchase price of the bicycle, whichever is less, for other residents, according to the office of Gov. Dan McKee.

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Niedowski, a former Sun foreign correspondent and Moscow bureau chief who was a Pulitzer Prize finalist for the newspaper in 2004 for a story about an 18-month child who died as a result of medical mistakes, died at age 46 in October 2020 after a sudden illness.

Niedowski, who was also director of communications for McKee while he was lieutenant governor, was an advocate for renewable energy and environmental justice and loved donning her favorite hoodie and taking off on her bike.

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“This is an amazing honor for Erika. This program will merge two loves in her life, cycling and protecting the environment,” her longtime partner, Patrick Laverty, said in a statement.

Applications for the rebate program will be available online at www.drive.ri.gov starting Monday. The bikes must be purchased in Rhode Island.

“Erika was an inspiration to all who knew her,” McKee said. “She was brilliant, talented, thoughtful, and her commitment to promoting clean energy solutions will positively impact Rhode Island for generations to come.”


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