Commission Chairman Ruth S. Taylor has announced that the Rhode Island Historical Preservation & Heritage Commission has appointed J. Paul Loether of Silver Spring, Maryland to serve as Executive Director. The selection follows a five-month search that evaluated 57 candidates from Rhode Island and nationwide.

“Paul Loether is an experienced historian and nationally recognized historic preservation expert who will be an outstanding leader for Rhode Island,” said Ted Sanderson who retired last year after 33 years as RIHPHC’s executive director in a statement.

Mr. Loether has 40 years of professional experience working in the field of historic preservation, exercising senior management and leadership at the state and national levels of government. For the last eleven years, he worked at the National Park Service in Washington, DC as Chief of the National Register of Historic Places and National Historic Landmarks Program, and he held the title of Keeper of the National Register. Previously he was the director of the Connecticut Commission on Culture and Tourism and State Historic Preservation Officer. He earned an undergraduate degree in history at Trinity College and a graduate degree in Public Policy with a focus on historic preservation. He will move to Rhode Island and begin work in June.

In addition to his position as Executive Director, Governor Gina Raimondo intends to appoint Loether as Rhode Island’s next State Historic Preservation Officer.

“We were very pleased to find Paul’s application to lead our State’s preservation office. He is surely among the most qualified people in America for this job. This will be important, since he must follow the tenure of Ted Sanderson, who has been in the forefront of preservation efforts in Rhode Island for many years. We look forward now to a good transition and continued leadership from Paul,” said Taylor in the statement.

The Rhode Island Historical Preservation & Heritage Commission is the state agency for historic preservation and heritage programs. The Commission identifies and protects historic and prehistoric sites, buildings, and districts, administers grants, loans, and tax credits for rehabilitation of historic buildings, reviews federal and state projects that affect cultural resources, and regulates archaeological exploration. The Commission also develops and carries out programs to recognize the ethnic and cultural heritage of Rhode Island’s people.

Ryan Belmore is the Publisher of What'sUpNewp. 
Belmore has been involved with What’sUpNewp since shortly after its launch in 2012, proudly leading it to be named Best Local News Blog in Rhode Island by Rhode Island Monthly readers in 2018, 2019, and 2020 and an honorable mention in the Common Good Awards in 2021.

Born and raised in Rhode Island, Belmore graduated from Coventry High School and the Community College of Rhode Island. In addition to living in Newport for 10 years, he has lived in Portsmouth, Coventry, Providence, Smithfield, Burrillville, and East Greenwich.

Belmore currently serves as Vice President of the Board Of Directors for Fort Adams Trust and on the Board of Directors for Potter League For Animals. He previously served on the Board of Lucy's Hearth and the Arts & Cultural Alliance for Newport County.

Belmore and his wife, Jen, currently live in Alexandria, Virginia, a move they made in 2021. Read more about that here -

Belmore visits Newport every couple of weeks to support the 12+ paid contributors What'sUpNewp has on the ground across Rhode Island, a place he called home for 39 years.

Belmore is a member of Local Independent Online News (LION) Publishers, Society of Professional Journalists, and the North American Snowsports Journalists Association.

In 2020, Belmore was named Member of the Year by LION and won the Arts & Cultural Alliance of Newport County's Dominque Award.
Belmore can be contacted at and 401-662-1653.