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Thursday, November 03, 2005
no need to send that email
I should be heading out to the door to work right now. But I checked my email, and checked my Bloglines, and saw an interesting article on Slashdot about a flotilla of offshore wind turbines generating electricity. Made me smile because an old friend of mine developed that idea about 10 years ago. The article says some other dude invented the notion 12 years ago, but you know good ideas often are spontaneously created by many people in different places. Anyhoo, I haven't talked the this old friend in a few years, and I thought I'd email him the article with a little joke about suing the guy for intellectual property rights on the flotilla.

Couldn't find his email address, just had his snail mail. So I Googled him. Chico died over 2 years ago, Father's Day 2003, when the engine in the small plane he was piloting failed. 3 skydivers died with him.

Shitty way to start your day to read about your old pal's demise, and to realize you haven't even talked to the guy in over 2 years, some friend I am.

Chico and I met my first summer of law school, I had a fellowship with Mountain Stream Monitors, a project of the Highlands Conservancy on acid mine drainage. Chico was a hydrogeologist and an all around interesting fellow. Very well-groomed and conservative looking, he was an enviro hippie in disguise. His name was actually Richard diPretoro, and why we all called him Chico, I'll never know. We worked on drafting a federal rulemaking to tighten up permitting for mine sites that would produce acid mine drainage. Chico had the science of the prediction. We had a great summer, and stayed pals. He introduced me to many great enviro activists, especially around coal issues. We later worked on the Living Forests project with Mike, checking out timbering projects to see if they were following the best management practices our weak timbering law suggested, and if so, were they still causing environmental harm. We tromped around in the woods, checked out a cool horse logging site, took free classes from the Div of Forestry on logging, log road building, mapping, best practices. We worked on capturing some video of enviro leaders, a project I never completed, but had fun trying. We drove out to Hurricane to see a very cool house that was totally off the grid, interviewed the owner and builder, who later became Graffiti's 'Eer of the Year.

Then a few years later Chico's wife (who was actually my accompanist in college, Romanian pianist Marina) wanted to move to Pittsburgh for work. She had found a house, but Chico wasn't too into it. He said if he was going to leave WV, he at least wanted to live in the city, not out in some leafy suburb. But to the burbs they went. Chico started working for a gas company, I joked about him moving over to the dark side. We still chatted occasionally, less and less often.

Now he's gone. No need to send that email. Bye, Chico.


permalink posted by cat 7:59 AM

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