Delegating Denver #44 of 56: Rhode Island

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Rhode Island

Total Number of Delegates: 33 Pledged: 21 Unpledged: 12

How to Recognize a Rhode Island Delegate: Rhode Islanders are the third-thinnest of all U.S. residents, which is a miracle, considering that there is a Dunkin’ Donuts shop on every corner in the state. It's because they're prolific pedestrians. At a leisurely pace of three miles per hour, it only would take about nine hours to walk across the entire state and sixteen hours to walk the length, depending on the number of coffee-milk stops. Residents of the littlest state raise a big fuss if it takes more than twenty minutes to get anywhere by car. They often boast that that they love living in Little Rhody because it's convenient to both Boston and New York, even though most of them haven't been to either in over five years. And why would they go to either? Rhode Island was created by Massachusetts as a place to send its troublemakers. It only makes sense that irascible Rhode Island would be the first state to declare independence from the British and the last to sign the United States Constitution. Today, racketeering, conspiracy, extortion, witness tampering and mail fraud remain the leading occupations for the one in six state residents who work for some branch of the government. They will be the delegates most prone to binge drinking and retrospective remorse. All Rhode Island delegates will dress in business-casual ensembles purchased specially for the occasion from Wilson's of Wickford, and all will sport the practical, humorless, hardworking New England hairstyles of a doughnut maker.

Famous Rhode Islanders: Unfinished George Washington portrait painter Gilbert Stuart; authors Cormac McCarthy and H.P. Lovecraft; Dumb and Dumber movie makers Bobby and Peter Farrelly; performance artist Spalding Gray; Cheers, Wings, and Frasier TV producer David Angell; TV personalities Ruth Buzzi, Eric Lutes and Meredith Vieira; TV carpenter Norm Abram; father of American musical comedy George M. Cohan; L.T.D. funk musician Jeffrey Osborne; Mighty Mighty Bosstones skacore frontman Dicky Barrett; country singers Billy Gilman and David Olney.

Famous Rhode Island Democrats: College student tuition grantor Claiborne Pell; Clinton White House press secretary Dee Dee Myers; senior United States senator Jack Reed; sensation-seeking United States representative Patrick J. Kennedy; United States representative Jim (the next Joe Lieberman) Langevin; Providence (and the first openly gay U.S.) mayor David N. Cicilline.

Famous Rhode Islanders With Denver Connections: Brown University chemistry professor turned United States Senator Nathaniel P. Hill; Johnson & Wales University; Colorado House District 3 representative Ann McGihon; Artist of Letters Roland Bernier; Colorado Rapids mid-fielder Nico Colaluca; Englewood United Methodist music coordinator Bob Shammas; Buckley tech sergeant Brian Webster.

State Nickname: The Ocean State, The Smallest State, Little Rhody (official); Playtime Powerhouse, Coffee Milkers Paradise, Land of Quahogs (unofficial). Population: 1,067,610 Racial Distribution: 79% white, 6% black, 1% Native American, 3% Asian, 11% Hispanic Per Capita Personal Income: $31,916 Unemployment: 6.3%


Most Rhode Island Denver Neighborhood: Wash Park West

Most Rhode Islander Bar: Irish Snug 1201 East Colfax Avenue If the Rhode Island delegation can't find its District 1 representative, Patrick Kennedy, while in Denver, this is where he'll be, probably with his Uncle Teddy.

Most Rhode Islander Restaurant: Max Gill & Grill 1052 South Gaylord Street Ocean Staters will find that the seafood choices here — including Maine lobsters, Cajun seafood pasta, tilapia ceviche and Hawaiian poke tune — are as diverse as the convention delegates.

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Best Day Trip: Central City It took a conniving chemistry professor from Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island, to make Central City "the richest square mile on Earth." Nathaniel P. Hill came to Colorado five years after the discovery of gold in Gilpin County, at a time when the miners were digging deep into hard rock and having trouble extracting gold from the ore with the traditional stamp-mill and mercury-amalgam process. As the mines failed, Hill bought up the miners’ options. He then took a trip to Swansea, Wales, with seventy tons of the Central City ore, to investigate the latest Cornish smelting process. When he returned, he organized the Boston & Colorado Smelting Company in Black Hawk and started "cooking rocks" in 1868. He realized instant success, not just in extracting gold from his own ore, but from all of the other mines who needed his mill. It made him rich, and it started a second building boom for Central City. The outpouring of wealth from the mines (and a couple of pretty bad fires) turned a motley collection of log cabins into Colorado's finest city but in what looks at first sight like the state's worst location. The town wanders steeply up Gregory Gulch, and houses cling precariously to its slopes. Near the junction of the three principal streets sit the grand Opera House and Teller House, surrounded by an extensive historic business district built of brick and stone. The town is easily reached by taking Interstate 25 to westbound U.S. Highway 6. Follow the casino buses up through Clear Creek Canyon to Colorado Highway 119. In Black Hawk, Professor Hill's smelter is long gone, replaced by a dozen mega-casinos that now extract metal from old folks instead of ore. Turn left at Gregory Street and drive one mile. This place is best enjoyed on foot, but be warned: The town is only two miles long, but the elevation gain from one end to the other is greater than the height of the highest point in Rhode Island. -- Kenny Be

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