This article originally appeared in the Rhode Map newsletter. If you would like to get the newsletter as a convenient e-mail Monday through Friday, just sign up here.
Happy Friday and welcome to Rhode Map, your daily guide to everything happening in the Ocean State. I’m Dan McGowan and word on the street is that North Providence has a real chance to make the Little League World Series this year. Follow me on Twitter @DanMcGowan or send tips to Dan.McGowan@globe.com.
ICYMI: Rhode Island was up to 154,153 confirmed coronavirus cases on Thursday, after adding 167 new cases. The overall daily test-positive rate was 2.7 percent. The state announced zero new deaths, keeping the total at 2,739. There were 32 people in the hospital, and 656,706 residents were fully vaccinated. Check our dashboard for more data.
In Rhode Island, we like to brag that it’s not uncommon to run into governors or US senators in the grocery store. By that standard, our television meteorologists might as well be extended family members.
So when I heard that friend of Rhode Map Pete Mangione was leaving Channel 12 last month, I knew he must be up to something big. It turns out that Mangione has joined Gro Intelligence, a climate-focused, artificial intelligence company that was recently named one of Time’s 100 most influential companies.
I asked Pete to tell us about his new gig and what he’ll miss about the television news business.
Rhode Map: Most Rhode Islanders know you as the TV weather guy, but you’re also a total data nerd. In fact, you’ve built a couple of websites that contain weather information. Tell us about why you decided to leave television altogether.
Mangione: Over the years, I’ve used some of my spare time to write computer programs about how to make sense of weather information. (Yes, that IS super nerdy). There is a lot of information out there and finding patterns in this information has always been a passion of mine. When I recently found an opportunity to work on this type of thing full time, I could not pass it up. I’m also looking forward to sleeping in on Saturday and Sunday mornings! However, it is bittersweet as I will miss all of my terrific former WPRI coworkers.
RM: Gro Intelligence was recently named one of Time’s 100 most influential companies. What kind of work are you going to be doing there?
Mangione: I am thrilled to be joining such an exciting company. One of the many objectives of Gro is tracking and predicting the health of crops around the world. Weather, of course, plays a huge role in this. During hurricanes or big snow storms, you will often hear forecasters talk about what the “American model” is forecasting versus the “European model.” There are many other predictive computer models out there, and I will be helping Gro integrate them into our software. I will also be narrating some of our videos, so I still get to use some of those TV skills.
RM: When I read about all the data that Gro Intelligence gathers and analyzes, I thought about that movie “Trading Places” and the price of orange juice. But the company seems really focused on the impact of climate change. What’s a tangible example of how the work you’re doing can help other businesses understand what’s happening to the environment?
Mangione: First of all, great movie! Yes, Gro is very interested in climate change and the impact this will have on things like food security. But climate change will not just impact food security, it also poses risks to human health. One of my current projects is looking into air quality data and some of the computer models that make predictions about the future. From the health care industry to those businesses looking for the most cost-effective way to reduce their carbon footprint, many different companies have an interest in the relationship between climate change and air quality.
RM: Last question, and it has to be about television. I’ve seen the kinds of e-mails you get when people think the forecast was wrong (or when they are just upset that it rained). What’s one complaint that you’ll never forget?
Mangione: I received many colorful e-mails, but there is one that stands out. This one actually has nothing to do with weather. Years ago, I made some silly joke to my co-anchor at the desk after the weather forecast. I thought the joke was harmless, but a viewer did not agree. They sent me an e-mail saying that they watched the news “in spite of me, not because of me” and also that they couldn’t believe “such a loser had gone to Penn State.” Apparently, the person was a fan of Penn State but not a fan of me.
THE GLOBE IN RHODE ISLAND
⚓ My latest column: Providence Mayor Jorge Elorza embarrassed himself when he confronted Governor Dan McKee on Wednesday evening. But he was right about the lack of transparency around the proposed teachers’ union contract. Read more.
⚓ A well-known developer and the town of Narragansett are at odds over a “stinky” old hotel in the Port of Galilee. Read more.
⚓ A Rhode Island law requires that at least 10 percent of the dollar value of state contracts go to minority- and women-owned businesses. But the state waived that requirement during the pandemic last year, and it has met the mandate only twice in the past six years, legislators say. Read more.
⚓ The city of Central Falls on Thursday announced that it will require members of the public to wear face masks in city-owned buildings beginning Monday. Read more.
⚓ Former Providence College basketball star David Duke did not get drafted last night, but he is planning to sign with the Brooklyn Nets. Read more.
⚓ Rhode Map readers have sent another round of Happy Birthday wishes to: Dale J. Venturni, Maggie Raia (10), Larry Valencia, Gina Nastari, Maureen Pollard (65), Eddie Fonseca (92), Michael DeLuca (65), Sam Boswell (24), Cranston Councilman Ed Brady, Larry Warner, Olivia Lawson (31), Barb Vroman, Courtney McGair (42), Rebecca Pourroy (66), Gerard Kelley III (50), and Adam Johnston (37).
MORE ON BOSTONGLOBE.COM
⚓ Health: What is it actually like to have a breakthrough case of COVID-19? The Globe spoke with numerous individuals in the region who got the shot, yet still got sick to varying degrees. Read more.
⚓ Perspective: What’s it mean to be a true New Englander, anyway? Read more.
⚓ Food: Here are three hearty salad recipes you can serve for dinner. Read more.
⚓ Sports: It’s MLB trade deadline day, and we have a live tracker. Read more.
WHAT’S ON TAP TODAY
Each day, Rhode Map offers a cheat sheet breaking down what’s happening in Rhode Island. Have an idea? E-mail us at RInews@globe.com.
⚓ The Providence Teachers Union is expected to approve a new, three-year contract at 5 p.m. at Rhodes on the Pawtuxet in Cranston.
⚓ Governor McKee will sign the Rhode Island African Heritage and History Curriculum bill at 12:30 p.m.
⚓ A special legislative committee that is studying the policy and procedures around discoverable material in criminal cases meets at 3 p.m.
⚓ Do you ❤ Rhode Map? Your subscription is what makes it possible. We’ve got a great offer here.
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