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Side of the Rhode: Who’s Hot and Who’s Not? - February 23, 2018

Friday, February 23, 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? - February 23, 2018

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Good Eating in RI

Five Rhode Island restaurants have received a four-diamond rating from AAA. 

The restaurants are the Spiced Pear Restaurant, The Dining Room at Castle Hill Inn, The Vanderbilt Grill, Gracie’s, and COAST. 

The restaurants will be honored at a luncheon on February 28 at the Newport Marriott, a first-time recipient of the Four Diamond recognition for a hotel.

“Just 2.1 percent of the 31,000 AAA inspected and approved restaurants receive the Four Diamond designation. These Diamond ratings are used by Rhode Islanders as well as travelers across the country to find the best places to dine in our state," said Lloyd Albert, Senior Vice President of Public and Government Affairs for AAA Northeast. 

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USA Women’s Hockey

Maybe the greatest rivalry in sports is the epic battle between Team USA and Team Canada at the Olympics every four years.

The U.S. had not captured gold since 1998 when the team included Rhode Island hockey star Sara DeCosta, but since then the gold has been captured repeatedly by Team Canada.

Now, Team USA has brought gold back tot he U.S. Their 3-2 win, decided in a shootout was tremendous hockey and stirred remembrances of the greatest moments in Olympic history.

Kudos to the American women…USA…USA…USA.


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Neighborhood Activists

When Brown University proposed a new Performing Arts Center in the heart of College Hill -- that would have required the demolition of four historic properties and moving one -- the public turned out to oppose the further destruction of the historic district.

Now, Brown University had come back with a new plan -- for a smaller facility, that would demolish no historic buildings, but require one to be moved.  And the public is still keeping watch.

"Brown’s new plan for the performing arts center is a welcome alternative to demolishing or moving five historic buildings.  The PAC will still be a large structure, and I look forward to seeing how the new building design fits the site and surrounding area," said historian Ted Sanderson.

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The Avenue Concept

They say every little bit helps -- and in the case of beautifying 
Providence, the Avenue Concept plays a big part in that.

The first privately administered public art program, The Avenue Concept, has installed over 150 pieces of public art throughout Rhode Island, and was one of the driving forces behind a local artist’s goal of displaying his sculptures in Kennedy Plaza, 20 plus years in the making.

John Taraborelli, a representative from The Avenue Concept, spoke about Peruvian born, RI-based sculptor Peruko Ccopacatty this week on GoLocal LIVE who was given the key to the city.  Ccopacatty was promised his metal
made sculptures would be installed in Providence in 1995, yet it wasn’t until February 4, 2018, dubbed “Ccopacatty Day” that the dream was finally realized.

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Claire Andrade-Watkins

The box office success of "Black Panther" is well-documented, with the Disney/Marvel phenomenon breaking numerous records since opening weekend.

But it's impact goes well beyond -- and GoLocal was fortunate to have a preeminent film and Africana studies scholar to provide that perspective.

Claire Andrade-Watkins, who is a Professor of Film and Africana Studies at Emerson College and a Fox Point native, joined GoLocal News Editor Kate Nagle in studio on LIVE to discuss both the success of the film "Black Panther" -- as well as its importance in overcoming the stereotypes perpetuated since the movie "Birth of a Nation" which was released in 1915.

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Convention Center Authority

Incompetent. It might be the kindest term to use for the Convention Center Authority that oversees the Dunkin’ Donut Center. Managing switchovers from hockey games to basketball games is commonplace at venues across the country. But, not at the Dunk’.

Last year, the facility was humiliated on a national TV broadcast when condensation hit the floor during the Friars’ game against Marquette.

This year the game had to be suspended.

This doesn’t happen in Worcester or Boston or Hartford or…

If the Dunkin’ Donut Center’s management is incapable of managing the building then time to get new management — or PC to build an on-campus facility.

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Mayor James Diossa

Funneling a sole source contract to former Providence and New Haven Police Chief Dean Esserman’s consulting raises concerns about fair play, transparency, and good judgment.

Esserman has been forced to resign as Police Chief both in Providence and New Haven. His behavior was often abusive and lacked judgment.

Diossa has avoided controversy during his tenure as Mayor of Central Falls. Let’s hope he will rethink this one.

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Gina Raimondo

One of the knocks against Gina Raimondo is she says one thing and does another especially when it comes to campaign donations.

Raimondo is claiming she has not and will not accept campaign donations from gun lobbyists, but state records are clear that she has received donations from one of the most influential lobbyists who represents gun interests.

“Governor Raimondo has never and will never accept a dime from the gun lobby. She signed the bill that takes guns away from abusers and wants to ban military-style weapons and high capacity magazines. She’ll work with any willing partner to make that happen,” David Ortiz, Raimondo’s press secretary told GoLocal in an email on Monday.

When Ortiz was forwarded information about multiple donations from former Democratic Speaker of the House William Murphy, who lobbies for the RI 2nd Amendment Coalition/NRA State Association by GoLocal, Ortiz stopped responding to repeated follow-up questions, including whether Raimondo would return the donations.

According to Rhode Island campaign finance reports, Murphy, who at the time was the registered lobbyist for the NRA affiliate, made two donations totaling $500 in 2014, donated $500 to Raimondo on September 28, 2016, and then followed up with a $350 donation on October 1, 2017. Murphy has given a total of four donations totaling $1,350 to Raimondo while lobbying for gun interests.  

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RI Foundation

One would think that if the Rhode Island Foundation received a subpoena regarding the collapse of the largest pension fund, that they would instruct their attorney’s to call and work to expedite the immediate delivery of requested documents.

The pensions of over 2,700 retirees are underfunded by an estimated $118 million. For many of them, their economic future is hanging by a thread.

Every day delayed increases the costs to recover retirees funds.

The RI Foundation needs to email over the documents now.

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Expulsion Before Due Process

A number of prominent Rhode Islanders have been charged with crimes by federal and state prosecutors over the years. Later, those charges were dropped or the individuals were found not guilty by their peers in a trial.

They were mayors, top staffers, business leaders and other prominent community leaders —none of them found guilty.

While law enforcement and prosecutors may be 100 percent correct in the case of crimes committed by Nick Kettle, he deserves his day in court. If convicted on these disturbing charges, then, of course, he should be removed from the Senate, but he has been found guilty of nothing and has declared his innocence. It is all moot now. He has resigned and will face trial. What is the implication is he is found to be innocent?

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Partners HeathCare

On Tuesday, the Boston Globe unveiled the Partners is cutting about 100 of the company’s tech workers that their jobs were being outsourced to India to cut costs. Partners is looking to buy Care New England in RI.

“Many of the employees have worked for Partners for several years, or even decades, and are struggling with the company’s decision. Almost all are coders — people who scour patients’ medical records to pinpoint billable services — and earn upward of $40 an hour. Coders in India earn a fraction of that amount, making overseas coding an attractive way for hospitals to cut costs,” wrote the Boston Globe.

Brown President Christina Paxson has been opposed to the sale to Partners and wrote on January 12, in a letter to the Brown University community announcing her opposition to the Partners acquisition of CNE:

“I feel strongly that letting this acquisition go forward would be wrong for Rhode Island and for Brown. Doing so is likely to lead to specialty healthcare shifting to Massachusetts, impeding access to healthcare for Rhode Islanders and especially for members of the state’s underserved communities. It also would likely increase the cost of care and reduce the ability of Rhode Islanders — consumers, businesses, healthcare workers and policy-makers — to have a voice in how our healthcare system works. If the focal point of Rhode Island healthcare shifts to Boston, excellent physicians (many of them Brown-trained) could be less likely to choose Rhode Island as a place to practice. In addition, the full economic benefits of a strong local academic health system — one that brings in federal grants, generates spin-off companies and creates new jobs in Rhode Island— would be lost, perhaps forever.”

Governor Gina Raimondo appearing on GoLocal LIVE raised concerns that if the Partner’s deal moves forward Rhode Island could realize significant job loss as the company would push more procedures to Boston.


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