2016-12-29 / Around Town

An Ode to 2016

Inspired by an old newspaper tradition, our stalwart feature writer pens a tribute to the tumultuous year that has just passed.
By James Merolla

Let us lift up our glass, filled with holiday cheer, To the winners, the losers, the events of the year;

What was hot, what was not; the Tweet, the dope, the poll,
From hiked sewer rates to a St. Patrick’s Parade stroll;
From a planned Tiverton casino to Broadway (paved),
From incumbents re-elected, to an Opera House almost saved;
From the return of Mayor Harry Winthrop’s grand mustache,
To a mansion burned down to just ash;
From Cliff Walk to Island Moving Co. to Tuesday Night Dickens,
To the new Edward King black box theater, to Jane Pickens;
From Sylvia, Rodrigues, Lombardi, Viveiros, VonVillas, Santos, Turano,
To Bova, Taylor, Ceglie, Florez, Leonard and Napolitano;
From Flowers (Sandra) to Weed (Teresa Paiva),
To contentious meetings where Roberts Rules meet Lady Godiva;
To the intriguing, the fatiguing, the outlandish, the provincial, the buzz;

This Is the Year That Was:

In Newport County

President Trump selected Middletown’s General Flynn with complete surety
To head this country’s national security!
Broadway was torn up, reset, ripped open, redone.
It’s almost finished. Really. Honest. Believe me, anyone?
But good has come from this – through merchants associations;
Owners banded together and started TWO new celebrations.
Newport/Middletown incumbents were almost universally re-elected.
But McLaughlin, Leary, and Camacho were not selected.
For State Rep. Deborah Ruggiero absentee ballots were the big If,
They gave her a razor thin win over GOP challenger Rebecca Schiff.
A new Visitors Center plan was approved for $6.5 million to cover any goofs.
Abutter concerns? Runoff, lights, cabs, and rain noise on metal roofs.
In trouble when you float?
You’ll get waterlogged waiting for any city-owned fireboat.
St. George’s settled a multi-million dollar lawsuit through jurisprudence;
Several staffers had molested quite a few of the prep school’s students.
At Cliff Walk’s end, a homeowner put up a fence, narrowing the path,
That immediately incurred city officials’ wrath.
Speaking of which, councilors straddle just such a fence.
They can’t decide how to word a panhandling ordinance.
Trophy fish catching seemed better than anyone could remember.
Charter boats were still out to sea at the start of December.
Cliff the Coyote became a cause célèbre.
Capture him? Euthanize him? Sedate him? Take him away! Duh!
Cliff and his fellow creatures lost one of their own, a unique, resilient fighter.
With the death of Vietnam vet Jack Kelly, our devoted nature photog and writer.

Fireboat debating… Fireboat debating… 
Community coordinating… Community coordinating… Rhode Island

A Barrington man saw 300 angry females with placards advance
On his house after he criticized older women wearing yoga pants.
Gov. Raimondo paid half a million for the worst state slogan ever.
“Cooler, Warmer,” was neither cool, hot, topical, accurate or clever.
Providence Mayor Elorza punched above his weight, got gritty,
When he vowed to immigrants: "We will remain a Sanctuary City."
Gov. Raimondo is regarded as a great leader in national reviews and such.
In Rhode Island? Not so much.
Although she did seem to satisfy the public and private sector,
With a better $400 million, five-year plan to rebuild the 6-10 Connector.

Broadway paving… Broadway paving… Politics

Trump defeated 16 challengers, then stunned Clinton. The drama!
If he could, he would repeal the last eight years of Obama.
Bush, Cruz, Rubio, Kasich, Carson, they all got ‘Trumped.’
A sinking ship, the Republican Party, is now air pumped.
Hillary’s stunning defeat, due to the Donald’s electoral coup
Means regrouping for Democrats will ensue.
Liberal supporters weeping, gnashing, stunned, side by each
Waited until 3 a.m., but Hillary gave no concession speech.
TV pollsters are doomed. They misread voter numbers so “Wrong!”
Their election predictions were as brutal as any Kanye West song.


After 108 years of curses, losses, goats, failures and drubs,
Baseball’s world champions are… the Chicago Cubs?”
Their GM Theo Epstein may go down as the best exec in history.
Why the Red Sox ever let him go is a sickening mystery.
Although new GM Dave Dombrowski tipped the scales
By getting the A.L.’s best pitcher, Chris Sale!
Tom Brady was suspended for 4 games in a witch hunt to deflate that Pat.
They still were league best. Hey, Goodell, you jerk, take that!
Ireland’s Conor McGregor, the best MMA fighter at lightweight and feather,
Wants a $100 million showdown with boxing’s Floyd Mayweather.
Whipped fighter Ronda Rousey
Is still feeling lousy.
The Rio Olympics were in a $10 billion spotlight glare.
Did anybody care?


Pokemon Go! was the latest game to test.
Players walked into rivers, traffic, ditches, they became so obsessed.
Facebook was condemned for carrying reams of fake news.
People couldn’t distinguish what is fact and what’s a ruse.
The musical "Hamilton," a sensation, caused a revolution, past tense.
Then gay actors called out conservative new Vice President Mike Pence.
Television is revolutionary – the best programming ever in the mix.
Don’t believe me? Just binge watch on Netflix.
The Samsung Note phone lost its prestigious name
When the newest AND replacement models burst into flame.

The Grim Reaper claimed some great ones, enough to make us wince;
Alan Rickman, Glenn Frey, Mayor ‘Buddy’ Cianci, Prince,
Muhammad Ali, Bud Collins, Nancy Reagan, Gordie Howe,
David Bowie, Marnie Nixon. Oh, Death, where are they now?
Harper Lee, ‘Cool Moose’ Bob Healey, Garry Shandling, Patty Duke,
Florence Henderson, Leon Russell, Le Mort has no rebuke.
Merle Haggard, Morley Safer, Alan Young (of “Mr. Ed”)
Pat Summitt, Elie Wiesel, Gwen Ifill. Sigh. All dead.
Garry Marshall, Pete Fountain, Arnold Palmer, Melvin Laird;
Gene Wilder, Ralph Branca, Oh, Scythe Wielder, I’m scared!
John Glenn, Playwrights Edward Albee and Dario Fo,
Say it ain’t so!
Fritz Weaver, Leonard Cohen (no hallelujah there!)
Janet Reno, Robert Vaughn and Fidel Castro (finally out of our hair).
Three more to add, the last to go, to complete this farewell-wisher:
The lovely Zsa Zsa, Wham!'s George Michael, and our princess, Carrie Fisher.

Thank You!

And to our loyal readers and advertisers in Newport, Middletown, Jamestown;
(Especially that last place who named it after me…I’m so humbled…)
From all of us at Newport This Week, led by Lynne Tungett, Kirby Varacalli,
(Who, when selling ads guffaws under a sprig of holly,)
Betsy Sherman Walker, Olga Enger, bow-tied Barry Bridges,
(Who brilliantly edits all copy in flourishes and smidges),
Tom Walsh, Cynthia Gibson, Annette Desrosiers, Nila Asciolla,
Ross Cann, Patricia Lacouture, and, of course, ME, James Merolla,
To all of you loyal readers who fight the good fight…
You’ll come back and read this again next year, right?

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