Spotlight on the Statehouse: Sept. 17, 2015

Metro Editor
Thursday, September 17, 2015

Protesters with FANGs

Three men were arrested Monday in Burrillville, R.I. for disorderly conduct and trespassing after locking themselves to equipment at the compressor station of Spectra Energy, a company working to build a natural gas pipeline through New England, the Providence Journal reported.

The three men — Nick Katkevich, Keith Clougherty and Matthew Smith — are part of the group Fighting Against Natural Gas, which has protested the natural gas pipeline responsible for transporting natural gas extracted through hydraulic fracturing.

Last month, two members of the group — Peter Nightingale and Curt Nordgaard — were arrested for disorderly conduct and trespassing after chaining themselves to the entrance of the same compressor station. Nightingale, who is a physics professor at the University of Rhode Island, was also arrested in December of 2014 for a sit-in demonstration protesting Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse’s, D-RI, anticipated approval of Spectra Energy’s plans to build the pipeline.

Nabsys no longer

Nabsys, a Providence-based biotech firm, has closed its doors after operating for over 10 years, Rhode Island Public Radio reported. The firm has not released details as to why it is no longer in operation.

The company, located in the Jewelry District, built devices to read very long DNA molecules in a much faster and less expensive way. Two small firms, which eventually joined to become Nabsys, started in the early 2000s in the University’s chemistry, physics and computer science departments.

Point Judith Capital, an investment firm that Gov. Gina Raimondo led before she ran for state treasurer, began working with the company in 2009. Barrett Bready ’99 MD’03, adjunct assistant professor of molecular pharmacology, physiology and biotechnology and the founder and former CEO of Nabsys, hosted a fundraiser for Raimondo, and is the only member of the I-195 Redevelopment District Commission who remained between Chafee and Raimondo administrations.

PawSox proposal peters out

Hope that the Pawtucket Red Sox, the state’s minor league baseball team in affiliation with the Boston Red Sox, move to Providence continues to dwindle after a summer full of disappointments and setbacks.

Jim Skeffington, owner of the PawSox, proposed the idea of moving the team to his hometown of Providence in April, garnering the support of the mayor, governor and speaker of the house. But after Skeffington died in May, plans faltered.

The first proposal — which was made in the shadow of the settlement on the 38 Studios deal — required that the land be given free of charge, the stadium be absolved of city property taxes and the taxpayers subsidize the stadium by $120 million over 30 years, RIPR reported.

When a movement against the stadium backed by East Side voters and state representatives started growing, the politicians listened. The University also decided it would charge $15 million for the land required to build the stadium on the proposed site. And after the team looked at potentially buying another property in the city — Victory Place — the hospital network LifeSpan bought it.

Donald Grebien, the mayor of Pawtucket, R.I., wrote a letter to Raimondo this week asking to discuss a plan for the team. In his letter, he specifically proposed examining the feasibility of reinvesting in McCoy Stadium, the team’s current stadium in Pawtucket.

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