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Side of the Rhode: Who’s Hot and Who’s Not? - April 20, 2018

Friday, April 20, 2018


Every Friday, GoLocalProv breaks down who is rising and who is falling in Rhode Island politics, business, and sports.

Now, we are expanding the list, the political perspectives, and we are going to a GoLocal team approach while encouraging readers to suggest nominees for who is "HOT" and who is "NOT." 

Email GoLocal by midday on Thursday anyone you think should be tapped as "HOT" or "NOT."  Email us HERE.


Related Slideshow: Side of the Rhode: Who’s Hot and Who’s Not? - April 20, 2018

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Brown University

It's not every day you get a gift of $100 million -- but this week, Brown got just that.  

On Thursday, GoLocal reported that Brown received a $100 million gift for its brain science institute from alumnus Robert and Nancy Carney to quicken the pace of scientific discovery and help find cures for diseases such as ALS and Alzheimers.

Brown's been on a roll -- it went back to the drawing board for a proposal for a new performing arts building, after community backlash to the first -- and the second time was the charm with the city planning commission, garnering recent approval to move forward. 

Brown's success could prove to be a double-edged sword, however, if the city decides it wants to revisit tax concessions from the tax-exempt institution. 


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Women Leading in RI

The photo shoot finally came together, to get the leading ladies all together at once, but the impact of the community leaders should last much longer.

The "Just Like You" project recently recognized Providence residents Helen Baskerville-Dukes, Diana Garlington, Myra  Ladimir Nicholas, Chanda Womack, Iasha Hall, Marlena Rodrigues, Thaina Merlain, Virginia Georgiev, Latifat Odetunde, and Maria Berroa at the Institute for Non-Violence -- and now their roles in the community have been memorialized in photos. 

"The Just Like You Project began three years ago with myself and Kira Wills as I was interested in highlighting minority women in the city of Providence so that our young girls could see that we are just like them we face trials and tribulations just as they do yet we have learned to turn our pain into something positive and they can do the same thing the goal," said NAACP Youth Chair Pilar McCloud. 

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Save the Bay

The health of Narragansett Bay is the best its been in years -- but  Save the Bay is continuing to press Rhode Islanders to talk an active role. 

Baykeeper Mike Jarbeau appeared on GoLocal LIVE where he spoke to the launch of the "Water Reporter Program," which is a social network of community volunteers who use the Water Reporter App to share photographic observations of water and shoreline conditions with Save The Bay’s Waterkeepers.

The volunteer-submitted pictures will help Save The Bay document issues and changes taking place around the Bay’s 1,853-square-mile watershed, which stretches from southern Rhode Island as far north as Brockton and Worcester, Massachusetts. Geo-location services embedded in each photo will help Save the Bay target its advocacy efforts, identify and map trends, and prioritize shorelines and beaches that need to be added to its beach cleanup program.

A comment field gives volunteers a place to describe more about the photo and engage in conversation with Save The Bay staff and other Water Reporters.

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RI Home Prices

The weather might be cold, but home prices in RI are hot, hot, hot. 
RI home sales data released Thursday by the Rhode Island Association of Realtors show a year over year price increase in the month of March of 13 percent.

The median sales price of single-family home sales was the highest monthly price reached in the first quarter since 2007. The median was $265,000 in March.

Meanwhile, the Boston Business Journal reports that Boston and Washington D.C. are the top two candidates for Amazon's HQ2.  

A must read?  GoLocal's look last fall, "Is it good for RI, If Amazon goes to Boston"


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Boston Red Sox

As of Wednesday, the Boston Red Sox have been the hottest team -- and business -- in Beantown all year.  How hot?  They were off to their best start in franchise history -- a 15-1 run after losing on Opening Day. 

Meanwhile, the Pawtucket Red Sox have been off to a struggling start -- both for attendance in dismal weather, and trying to garner support for a taxpayer-backed move to the Apex location, following Senate approval -- and House reticence to back that piece of legislation. 

Can the Red Sox magic seal the deal for their AAA affiliate this session?


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Superman Building's 5th Closure Anniversary

The Superman Building — Providence’s tallest skyscraper and once the headquarters of America’s ninth largest bank — has now been vacant for five years. The dubious anniversary is a black mark on the state’s improving economy.

When Fleet Bank was in the building — officially the Industrial National Bank Building -- Providence's financial district was a busy hub. Today at lunchtime, the city's streets, like Westminster and Weybosset, are a fraction of what they once were. 

In June 2011, former Providence Mayor and downtown developer Joe Paolino prophetically warned that if Fleet Bank’s acquirer left the Superman Building it would be devastating for Providence’s business community.

Paolino said two years before Fleet's departure, that Providence, state, and federal officials needed to do whatever it took to keep the mega-bank in Providence.

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St. Joseph Pension Fund Collapse

Federal officials are now investigating Rhode Island’s largest pension fund collapse.

The federal intervention augments the efforts now being pursued by the court-appointed receiver Stephen Del Sesto and Special Investigator Max Wistow.

For months, Del Sesto has been in and out of court forcing the Diocese of Providence and the Rhode Island Attorney General’s Office to comply with court-approved subpoenas. The pension fund went into receivership on August 18, 2017 - exactly eight months ago today.

The Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC) is the federal agency that issued the subpoenas in the St. Joseph collapse Del Sesto confirmed on GoLocal LIVE.

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Shrinking Media

The race for Governor may include ten or more candidates -- the number of candidates may outnumber the total count of reporters and columnists covering the race.

At a time of change and turmoil in media, Rhode Island is seeing a transformation. The Providence Journal which once claimed a newsroom of more than 120 a decade ago, now has just 10 to 15 reporters.

With numerous political races in Rhode Island now heating up, GoLocal takes a look at the political reporters and columnists that will investigate the claims, analyze the campaign white papers, and dig through the campaign finance reports.

The governor's race alone could spark as much as $10 million in combined spending. The spending level could hit record levels, and so could the number of candidates. The race for Governor may include ten or more -- the number of candidates may outnumber the total count of reporters and columnists.

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Shootings in Providence

Last week, it was a shooting outside the Garrahy Courthouse Complex in Providence -- in broad daylight, in the middle of the day.

(See the footage HERE).

This week, shots were fired across town, shattering car windows (pictured) at Sunbury Street and River Avenue. 

The debate over guns is already at a fevered pitch at the Rhode Island State House, with the General Assembly returning next week.  The recent instances of gun violence in Providence have not gone unnoticed.

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Spring Weather

Freezing rain, grey skies, cold temps -- it's April 20.  Need we say more? 


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