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Side of the Rhode: Who’s Hot and Who’s Not? - May 18, 2018

Friday, May 18, 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? - May 18, 2018

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HOT

Friedrich St.Florian

Arguably Rhode Island's most respected architect said in an interview with GoLocalProv this week that he is supporting the proposed 46-story development by New York Developer Jason Fane.

Friedrich St.Florian is the architect of the World War II Memorial in Washington, D.C. He has done leading design work across the country and the world. His drawings are in the permanent collection of the Museum of Modern Art in New York and the Georges Pompidou Centre in Paris.

St.Florian’s endorsement is a major boost to New York Developer Jason Fane’s proposed 46-story tower.

"Well, as I’m going to testify tonight, as I told Mr. Fane — when I was asked if I’m in favor of it, I said I I believe in it very much — it’s the location I like so very much," said St.Florian.

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HOT

Air Canada

Air Canada returns to Rhode Island. The first flight from Toronto landed on Thursday.

Another step forward for the fast-growing T.F. Green Airport.

Read GoLocal's interview with Air Canada execs when they announced the service here

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HOT

Patricia Morgan

The watchdog of the RI Convention Center followed up on a GoLocal expose unveiling that the Dunkin’ Donuts Center will be functionally dark all summer while peer New England facilities are packed with top-level concerns.

Morgan wrote to the Convention Center Chair, “A recent GoLocalProv story highlighted, once again, the problem with our current management of the facilities. Except for a handful of events this summer, all three buildings will be empty. Despite that, the overhead, salaries and other expenses will continue to be paid.

Four years ago, the Republican Policy Group studied the RICCA. At that time, their marketing plan was superficial, at best. The staffing levels, salaries, and benefits were unnecessarily high, and they were not making enough money to cover operating costs, let alone the debt service of bonds issued 30 years ago, for what was promoted at the time as a self-sustaining venue.

Since that study four years ago, which highlighted the deficiencies and recommended solutions to maximize use of the facilities, the Center has received an additional $135.7 million from taxpayers. It appears that, except for a few minor changes when the spotlight was shining on them, management has done little to restructure their operations. Four years ago, RICCA was on track to spend $750 million before the bonds were retired. RICCA ended fiscal year 2017 with a net deficit position of ($54.7) million and $184.6 million in bonds payable. Nothing seems to have changed that expensive reality."

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HOT

Richard Branson

Richard Branson was in Providence Monday visiting Virgin Pulse — the company, which is located in the former Providence Journal building, is a leading provider of technology solutions that promote employee engagement and wellbeing.

During the visit, Branson said to 80-90 employees at an invitation-only event at Virgin Pulse that he has interest in the Superman Building for a hotel.

This was not a passing comment, state officials confirmed to GoLocalProv on Monday afternoon that he had voiced the same interest and is potentially looking to start a meaningful conversation. Bill Fischer spokesperson for the ownership group of the Superman Building refused to comment.

Virgin Pulse announced in February that the company reached “unmatched growth, profit expansion, and market-leading technology innovation in 2017.”

The Providence founded company kicked off 2018 with the acquisition of employee wellness provider Preventure.

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NOT

RI DMV

The Rhode Island DMV — the Karate Kid of technology.

Rather than “wax on, wax off” the agency practices “technology on, technology off.”

The agency is a terrible experience, in person and online, and that is when the computers are working.  This past week, processing licenses was suspended due to tech issues. What's next?

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NOT

The University of RI

Their handling of the reported rape case of 34-year-old student and mother Kate Conroy has been nothing short of a convoluted disaster.

While the school claims the process is dictated by the “survivor,” Conroy says she has been repeatedly mistreated by the University and influential faculty. Conroy’s attorney says, “She has been victimized three times. The rape, the six months delay in the investigation by the University, and the damages done to her career."

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NOT

Buff Chace

Listening to Buff Chace testify why the rules shouldn't be changed for Jason Fane's project reeks of hypocrisy.

Chace has developed much of Westminster Street with tax stabilizations from the taxpayers in Providence and historic tax credits from state and federal taxpayers. He has been a master at seeking extensions to his tax stabilization agreements worth tens of millions of dollars --  rule changing extensions, to extend his taxpayer subsidies.  

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NOT

Gas Prices

Rhode Island gas prices were up five cents from last week and are up a total of 25 cents over the last four weeks.

According to AAA Northeast’s May 14 survey of prices, in Rhode Island finds self-serve, regular unleaded averaging $2.90 per gallon.

Last week, reported that gas prices had risen three cents to $2.85. 

Three weeks ago, gas prices rose 10 cents to $2.75. The following week, gas prices rose another six cents to $2.81. 

 
 

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