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Remembering Those Who We Lost in RI in 2015

Remembering Those Who We Lost In RI In 2015 Remembering Those Who We Lost In RI In 2015 Remembering Those Who We Lost In RI In 2015 Remembering Those Who We Lost In RI In 2015 Remembering Those Who We Lost In RI In 2015 Remembering Those Who We Lost In RI In 2015 Email to a friend[1] Permalink[2]

Thursday, December 24, 2015

GoLocalProv News Team

Remembering Those Who We Lost In RI In 2015

Many in Rhode Island were touched by the loss of a loved one or someone who inspired them.

GoLocalProv looked back and some of the people that touched many of us. To everyone who lost someone special in 2015, this list is just a small group of those that touched so many of our lives. They will all be missed.

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Barbara Meek, Actress

Barbara Anita Meek who was celebrated for her more than 100 stage productions at Trinity Rep and gained national fame on TV passed away in October at the age of 81. Meek who was born February 26, 1934 in Detroit, Michigan, was a star on the television series Archie Bunker s Place – a spinoff series from All in the Family,

Her career at Trinity Rep included leading roles in the August Wilson plays Fences and Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, James Purdy’s Eustace Chisholm and the Works, Athol Fugard’s Boesman and Lena, Peer Gynt, The Threepenny Opera, Tartuffe, The Visit, Fires in the Mirror, Adrian Hall and Robert Cumming’s adaptation of A Christmas Carol (including the role of “Ebenezer Scrooge”), Terrence McNally’s Master Class, Henry IV, Tennessee Williams’ Suddenly Last Summer and, Lorraine Hansberry’s Raisin in the Sun and Oscar Wilde’s The Importance of Being Earnest to name a few. Meek also appeared in the Broadway production of Wilson in the Promised Land.

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David Barber, TV and Radio Personality

Former radio talk show host turned State House Host of Capitol Television , Barber one of those people that had the uncanny knack of touching most everyone he came in contact with. He passed away on July 4 of this year.

At a memorial in his memory most everyone offered a poignant story:[7]

Rep. Dennis Canario (D-Portsmouth, Tiverton and Little Compton), brought up Dave s love for his cream-colored Italian-made Vespa scooter. I helped him get his helmet painted to match the color of it, said the Deputy Majority Leader. He was the infamous social butterfly on two wheels, he said, noting that following Barber s adventures on his scooter was almost like Where in Rhode Island is Dave now. Jason Golditch, Senior Producer and Director at Capitol Television, told a story to illustrate Dave s love of baseball and his sense of humor. Golditch says that oftentimes he would give out a fantasy baseball card with his image on the card along with a real major league baseball player wearing Detroit Tiger uniforms. Little did those he gave the card to realize the photo was from a fantasy camp he once attended, he added, noting that Dave would go on to answer people s questions about what it was like to play in the major leagues.

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Guy Abelson, Hospitality and Community Leader

A former events manager at Lifespan and owner of Guy Abelson Events, Abeslon was a well-know figure in the Rhode Island hospitality industry.

As GoLocal reported on his passing in September[10]:

“Guy was that constant leader, thinker, and innovator in energizing and fundraising for the nonprofit community in Rhode Island,” said GoLocal24 CEO Josh Fenton. “You can’t imagine going to an event and not seeing Guy.”

Abelson was 67.

“He was a quiet leader — along the lines of Sister Ann Keefe — he walked the walk, and made life better for people working at the grassroots level,” said Mary K. Talbot, who was first introduced to Abelson working at the Rhode Island Community Food Bank.

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George Germon, Al Forno

George Germon, who opened the award-winning Al Forno restaurant in Providence in 1980 along with Johanne Killeen, passed away earlier this year. Al Forno is consistently named a top spot in Rhode Island — and the country — for its pizza and Italian cuisine.

Food and Wine Magazine wrote of Al Forno when it dubbed the Providence restaurant among the tops across the nation:

“Food & Wine honored Al Forno for launching ‘a new era of ambitious cooking in Providence [in 1980] with their thin-crusted grilled pizzas topped with superfresh ingredients.’ The editors singled out Al Forno’s Margarita Pizza (with house-made pomodoro, fresh herbs, two cheeses and extra virgin olive oil) as the signature item.”

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Joe Rodio, Attorney

For the past three decades Joe Rodio was the ultimate confidant to Mayors, business leaders, heads of non-profits, and union leaders. As GoLocal reported when it first reported Rodio s passing in October:

One of Rhode Island’s top attorneys has died — Joe Rodio, Sr., the founding member of Rodio & Ursillo. Rodio was considered one of the region’s top labor attorneys. He founded his firm in 1980 with David R. Ursillo, Sr. and piled up many of the most prominent clients in the region, ranging from the Providence Bruins to the Town of Cumberland to the Providence Police Union. A top advisor to many candidates and elected officials, Rodio was the blend of top legal mind and smart political counsel.

“I brought Joe in to advise the board of education when we began the reorganization. His counsel was concise, firm and effective. His loyalty and friendship is something I will always treasure. He was a passionate advocate and fiercely loyal. It is a very sad day for Rhode Island,” said Eva-Marie Mancuso, former Chair of the RI Board of Education.

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Ani Emdijan, Daughter, Student, Friend

In March, a RIPTA bus tragically struck and killed 9 year old Ani Emdijan on Smith Street in Providence. It was the second fatal RIPTA accident in a year, after a court security officer was struck and killed downtown in 2014. Donnie Bennett, who started a GoFundMe page[17] for the family following the tragic accident, wrote the following:

“Ani was a brilliant light in the world. I can remember when she was born, how much joy she brought to both of her parents, Marie McMillan and Osheen (Oshin) Emdjian. Over the years, as Ani grew, her parents immeasurable love only expanded every day – and they each finally learned what every good parent comes to know… the meaning of unconditional, everlasting love.”

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Felix Rodriguez, Spain Restaurants

Rhode Island is home to many ethnicities and one we could use a few more of is Spaniards, but Felix Rodiguez took many of us to the most delicious Spanish meals through his two restaurants in Narragansett and Cranston. The first of the two locations – Narragansett became famous for its Mediterranean inspired cuisine served in an elegant yet casual atmosphere.

GoLocal tagged Spain s Paella as one of the best meals you can eat in RI.

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Jim Skeffington, Lawyer and President of the PawSox

For decades, Jim Skeffington was the man behind the big deals in Rhode Island. He crafted the strategy, legal structure and financing for many of the mega-deals over more than four decades. In 2014 and 2015, he moved into a more public role as the face of the Pawtucket Red Sox and became the focal point of the effort to move the team from Pawtucket to Providence. GoLocal wrote when it first reported his death:

Jim Skeffington, the PawSox President and driving force behind the proposed move of the team to Providence, has died of a heart attack at age 73.

Prior to leading the new ownership group of the PawSox, Skeffington was a powerful behind-the-scenes lawyer who helped to put together the deals and financing for some of Rhode Island’s biggest projects. From establishing the financing for the Rhode Island Convention Center to the Providence Place Mall, Skeffington served as everything from bond counsel to chief strategist. Skeffington had been the driving force behind the effort to bring the Boston Red Sox AAA affiliate from Pawtucket to a new proposed $85 million stadium. The proposal requested $120 million in taxpayer support.

For decades at Edwards and Angell (now Locke Lord) law firm, he had been both a legal and political force.

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First Sgt. P. Andrew McKenna, US Army Special Forces

Andrew McKenna of the U.S. Army Special Forces, a Bristol native who was killed in a terror attack in Kabul in August, is remebered for his sacrifice and bravery by Rhode Islanders. Congressman Jim Langevin (D-RI), a senior member of the House Armed Services Committee, said about McKenna:

“Andrew McKenna was a brave young man and a dedicated soldier, and my heart is full of grief for the unimaginable loss felt by his family and friends, and by the State of Rhode Island. My thoughts and prayers are with the entire McKenna family; Andrew was truly a hero.”

“It is a tragedy whenever an American soldier dies in service to his or her country, and this devastating loss is particularly acute. Andrew’s sacrifice will never be forgotten, and as we pray for his loved ones, let us also pray for the courageous men and women who continue to serve and selflessly protect this nation.”

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Richard Jean-Georges, Bristol Police Officer

Jean-Georges, Richard J., Patrolman Bristol Police Department, 29, died in June in Costa Rica. He was the son of Manny and Gladys (Limage) Jean-Georges.

Richard attended the University of Alaska before transferring to the University of RI. He worked at Citizens Bank as a Loan Officer until fulfilling his dream to become a Police Officer. He served as a patrolman for the past three years with the Bristol Police Department.

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Michael Lewis and Kerry Soares

Lewis and Soares were two Rhode Islanders who died homeless in 2015.

The Statewide Outreach Committee of the Coalition vowed this year that any deaths on the streets would not remain invisible to the community, and that the deaths of those Rhode Islanders experiencing homelessness will be honored.

“Advocates lament the continuation of needless deaths when solutions exist for housing all homeless Rhode Islanders. A call is made to join the national movement, Zero: 2016 to house all chronic homeless and all homeless veterans,” said the Coalition.

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A good energy compromise

Congress approved a much-needed extension of the popular tax credits for renewable energy as part of the omnibus spending bill passed in the last days of the just-ended session. The tradeoff for extending tax credits for solar and other forms of renewable energy was lifting the 40-year ban on exports of U.S. crude oil. While ending the export ban has caused some unhappiness among environmentalists and people who oppose exporting U.S. oil any time, for any reason, this was a good deal.

The compromise hammered out by Congress extends the 30 percent Investment Tax Credit for solar for three years and then gradually decreases it. Analysts at Deutsche Bank predicted earlier this year that with the tax credit, the U.S could reach grid parity in all 50 states meaning solar can compete with other forms of energy without a subsidy by the end of 2016. Fourteen states are currently at grid parity, according to Deutsche Bank. The omnibus bill also extended a 2.3 percent Production Tax Credit for wind energy through next year, as well as Production Tax Credits for geothermal, landfill gas, marine energy and some hydro power.

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi recognized that many of her fellow Democrats might need to put clothespins on their noses to vote in favor of the compromise she referred to lifting the oil export ban as atrocious policy. But she argued that the wind and solar tax credits will eliminate 10 times more car bon pollution than the ex ports of oil will add. These estimates are supported by independent analysts at the Council on Foreign Relations and elsewhere. Overall, exporting U.S. oil is less harmful than it might seem at first blush, and has a number of benefits.

The U.S. will export a light crude oil that its refineries are poorly equipped to handle. It will import a medium density crude that U.S. refineries are better able to handle. The two are not interchangeable. Renewing exports would create financial and economic benefits for a U.S. economy that is still in recovery. Adding oil from the U.S. to the worldwide pool of oil for sale is extremely unlikely to result in increased demand for, or use of, oil. Demand is driven by many factors independent of the sources of the oil, including the strength of national economies.

What it will do is provide purchasers another option for where to buy oil, other than the Middle East and Russia, while creating jobs in the U.S. And it will allow the United States to wield more clout in an international energy market dominated by countries that include some that are not friendly to the United States. The bill includes a safety net a provision allowing the president to temporarily restore the export ban if there is a national security issue or if the domestic market is impacted. As a sweetener, the omnibus bill includes funding for research and development of clean energy and for conservation. The Solar Energy Industries Association estimates extension of the tax credits will result in 220,000 new jobs by 2020, cut emissions by 100 million metric tons and replace dozens of dirty power plants.

As distasteful as some find the renewal of oil exports, the pluses of the congressional deal far outweigh the minuses.

Beijing tightens security as embassies warn of threats

Beijing police tightened security around a bar and shopping area popular with foreigners on Thursday as embassies issued warnings for their citizens to be on guard against possible threats against Westerners. The American, British, French and other embassies said they had received information of possible threats against Westerners in the Sanlitun area on or around Christmas Day, and urged their citizens to be vigilant. Embassy spokespeople contacted said they had no more information to share.

Dozens of police, some with rifles, were standing on guard in the area, which has many big-name brand stores and some embassies. Roads leading into the embassy area were closed to traffic. Beijing police also announced Thursday that they had issued a yellow security alert to ensure safety during the Christmas period. According to Beijing’s security regulations, the alert is the lowest on a three-tier security warning scale for large stores or shopping and entertainment areas and is issued in case of receiving threats or finding suspected explosives.

Police commonly issue a yellow alert during holiday periods.