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Side of the Rhode: Who’s Hot and Who’s Not? - June 8, 2018

Friday, June 08, 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? - June 8, 2018

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Bachata Record Attempt

Let's go Providence -- can we break a World Record?

Carlos Gonzalez, the founder of Mambo Pa Ti Dance Company in Pawtucket, joined GoLocal News Editor Kate Nagle on GoLocal LIVE to discuss the attempt to break the world record for number of bachata dancers at PVDFest on June 8. 

Gonzalez spoke to the logistics of flying in an official from the Guinness Book of World Records, to how many couples it will take, to what will be played for music, and more.

For more information on the record attempt, go here

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RI Mushroom

Michael Hallock’s journey as a CEO has taken an unusual path. The former Sony Music executive is now heading one of the fastest growing agricultural companies in the region.

RI Mushroom Co. this week debuts at Dave’s Marketplace and that is just the latest in the company's growth, up and down the East Coast.

Formed in January of 2013, the RI Mushroom Co. is a “growing and dynamic company that cultivates and distributes exotic mushrooms to restaurants and specialty markets in Rhode Island and beyond.”

Its farm is located in West Kingston, RI where their grow rooms create the ideal environment for mushroom propagation. They also have partners who grow for them. Hallock said they are looking to dramatically expand their own production.

Hallock said that the company has been able to scale, in part, due to almost $325,000 in funding from Commerce RI’s small business fund and Business Development Corporation.

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Rhode Island has been recognized for having immunization rates among the highest in the country for numerous vaccines across different age groups.

The recognition comes from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) at their recent National Immunization Conference.

“Our tremendous immunization success is directly attributable to the dedication of Rhode Island’s healthcare provider community, including doctors, school nurses, pharmacists, and community partners, as well as to KIDSNET, a statewide health information system that helps children be as well vaccinated as possible. Prevention is a fundamental principle of public health. By vaccinating Rhode Island children so well, we are preventing the serious health consequences that are associated with many illnesses and are helping give everyone in our state the opportunity to be as healthy as possible,” said Nicole Alexander-Scott, MD, MPH, Director of the Rhode Island Department of Health (RIDOH).

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Michael Fine

A new feature on GoLocal breaks next week -- it is a launching pad for local writers.

Former Director of the RI Department of Health Dr. Michael Fine, who is an author, doctor, and community organizer, joined GoLocal News Editor Kate Nagle on GoLocal LIVE to talk about partnering with GoLocal to publish his writing -- and why he does it. 

"The partnership is really exciting -- medicine was a detour, or supposed to be a detour. I thought I would do medicine while I was waiting for my writing to mature," said Fine.  "But I kept writing short stories."

"Since leaving the Department of Health, that pace of short stories has increased. I thought it was time to put attention to writing and imagination," said Fine. "I think some of our political problems are problems of the imagination. We have opportunities to think and dream about how we might be better together -- that we don't use enough because we don't have a platform to imagine what everyone else's life is like."

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Eric Beane

Looking for the definition of mismanagement. Look no further. The antithesis of Harry Truman’s “The Buck Stops Here.” This administration’s motto may be, “Not My Fault.”

Rhode Island Governor Gina Raimondo’s administration has placed the blame for the potential for a more than $24 million loss to state taxpayers on staff lawyer Gregory Hazian for failing to file an appeal in May for the state’s attempted rate reduction to nursing homes — and not on the leadership in the department.

Health and Human Services Secretary Eric Beane Monday afternoon spoke to Hazian’s resignation.

Raimondo then placed the blame on Hazian for the potential loss — not for the department’s lacking oversight structure — Monday evening, when she said she called on Attorney General Peter Kilmartin to conduct an investigation. 

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Money, Money, Money PART 2

Governor Gina Raimondo had tapped one of the players in one of the most dramatic Congressional showdowns for her latest out-of-town fundraiser which was scheduled for Thursday night -- a $1,000 a person event.

Andrew Tisch and his wife Ann were hosting a New York City fundraiser for Raimondo at their home.

However, Tisch may be best known for his dramatic testimony before Congress when he was the CEO of Lorillard Tobacco Company, when he and other leading tobacco execs shocked members of Congress and the American public in claiming that there was no link between tobacco and cancer and that nicotine was not addictive.

For Raimondo, the link to a former tobacco CEO could be a political liability. Under her administration, Rhode Island has sunk to a grade of "F" from the American Lung Association. According to the national health organization, "Thumbs down for Rhode Island for spending little state money on tobacco prevention and cessation programs despite smoking costing the state close to $640 million in healthcare costs each year."

According to the New York Times the Tisch and Congressional Showdown Played Played Out as Follows (See Video Above):

Democratic Congressmen on the panel, inspired by recent news reports, pressed the executives on whether their companies manipulated the content of nicotine to keep smokers addicted to cigarettes. The executives acknowledged that nicotine levels could be and were controlled by altering the blends of tobacco, but they said this was done to enhance flavor, not to insure addiction.

Mr. [Henry] Waxman asked Andrew H. Tisch, the chairman and chief executive of the Lorillard Tobacco Company whether he knew that cigarettes caused cancer. “I do not believe that,” Mr. Tisch answered.

“Do you understand how isolated you are from the scientific community in your belief?” Mr. Waxman asked.

“I do, sir," Mr. Tisch said.

Tisch also claimed in answering questions from then-Congressman and now-United States Senator Ron Wyden that he did not believe that nicotine was addictive. 

After the hearing, a perjury investigation was initiated by the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ). Ultimately, the DOJ found it did not have enough evidence to prosecute for perjury because the CEOs testified under oath that they believed nicotine did not addict to people. Because they had used the word "believe," they could not be prosecuted for perjury.

On, Thursdaym Raimondo eventually canceled the controversial fundraiser citing her need to work on state budget issues.

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Money, Money, Money PART 2

In late January, both Rhode Island Governor Gina Raimondo and Commerce Secretary Stefan Pryor warned that the acquisition of Rhode Island-based Care New England by mega-hospital group Partners HealthCare was a danger to Rhode Island’s economy and could cost the state jobs.

Just five months later -- as Partners’ acquisition of the second largest hospital group is even more of a realization -- Raimondo has muted her comments on the potential adverse impacts that the deal may have on Rhode Island's healthcare industry. 

On June 15, Anne Finucane, Vice Chair of Bank of America, and Jack Connors, considered by many to be one of the most influential business leaders in Boston, are co-hosting a fundraiser for the who’s who in Boston for Raimondo. The event is a $1,000 per person breakfast at the private Boston College club.

Both are top leaders on the board of Partners Healthcare.

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Jorge Elorza

The City of Providence has filled in the historic fountain at DePasquale Square on Federal Hill. 

Restaurant owner Gianfranco Marrocco, who owns the Hotel Dolce Vita and Blend on the square as well as other establishments on the Hill, took the photos on Tuesday, ahead of the annual Federal Hill Stroll.

"The City of Providence couldn't fix the fountain so they put flowers in it to make it look like a funeral," wrote Marrocco. 

The Providence-Warwick Convention & Visitors Bureau writes of the iconic landmark:

If Garibaldi Park and the Gateway Arch are the welcoming arms of Federal Hill, DePasquale Square is its beating heart. The quatrefoil fountain and wide plaza are part of the Federal Hill revitalization effort. Back in the day, however, tens of thousands of immigrant families packed into these narrow streets and triple-deckers.

The Cappelli Block was completed in 1909 by Antonio Cappelli, one of the earliest Italian arrivals on the Hill, when Irish immigrants dominated the avenue. Along these streets, too, were the famous pushcarts, selling every variety of fruit and vegetable.


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