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Past Newsmakers

Fall 2013 Newsmakers

DAVID CATANIA, 45, the new chair of Washington, D.C.’s Committee on Education has introduced legislation to reshape the city’s public schools. Catania, who has served as an at-large member of the city council since 1997, drafted seven bills tackling the poor performance of DC schools. “So long as our school system ...disproportionately fails poor people and people of color, it permits a culture division,” he recently told The Washington Post.

MARK DE MARIA, a meteorologist at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Center for Satellite Applications and Research, developed wind speed prediction models used to calculate Hurricane Sandy’s wind speed and time of landfall in 2012. For over two decades, he has been working on methods to forecast changes in hurricane intensity, and is currently working on the Hurricane Forecast Improvement Project. He is also working on a lightening mapper, which could tell us more about a storm’s intensification.

ALYSSA MILANO, 40, told Parade Magazine she attributes her long, successful career to her Italian family. She began as a child star and is still working today because, Milano says, “Many of the kids who got into trouble didn’t have supportive families.” Known for her roles on “Who’s the Boss?” and “Melrose Place,” she currently stars on ABC’s “Mistresses.”

RAY “BOOM BOOM” MANCINI, former lightweight boxing world champion, is the subject of a new documentary, “The Good Son.” Mancini, 52, known for his ruthless style in the ring, which led to 23 victories via knockout, lets the genuineness of his persona shine through in the film. The documentary details some of his bleakest moments including the match with South Korean Duk-koo Kim on Nov. 13, 1982, which resulted in Kim’s death.

DAN TANGHERLINI is the new head of the U.S. General Services Administration (GSA) effective July 5, following 15 months acting GSA administrator. The agency is responsible for improving the government’s workplace by managing assets, acquisitions, historic property, and technology. It includes more than 12,500 employees, and oversees more than 370 million square feet of work space and 200,000-plus vehicles.

FRANCESCA ZAMBELLO, head of the Washington National Opera, has transformed the summertime Glimmerglass Festival in Cooperstown, NY into a true opera company by nurturing artists’ allegiance to the company and bringing in renowned singers as artists-in-residence. To contribute to the love of opera in younger generations, she’s maintained the festival’s children’s chorus.

And "Addio" to...

VINCENZO CERAMI, co-author of the screenplay, “Life is Beautiful,” died July 17 at age 72 in Rome. Besides writing the Academy-Award-winning, “Life is Beautiful,” starring Roberto Benigni, he co-wrote over 40 other screenplays, the most recent being “A Tiger in the Snow,” and “Manuale d'amore.” He began his career as a protégé of the late Italian writer and director, Pier Paolo Pasolini.

DAN NAPOLITANO, director of teacher education & special programs at the National Holocaust Museum in Washington, D.C., died suddenly of a heart attack Sept. 15 at age 52. He held positions in education and development during his 13-year tenure there. Before joining the Museum, he studied for the priesthood and was a faculty member of the Religious Studies Department at Georgetown Preparatory School.

LAURA N. RINALDI, Esq., an attorney who fought for Washington, D.C.’s children with special needs, died July 29 in an auto accident. A 2001 graduate of George Washington University Law School, she was instrumental in winning a court case against the D.C. public school system, after the city failed to provide appropriate and necessary special education services to one of its students. A former juvenile and special education clinical professor at the University of the District of Columbia’s law school, she was a member of the D.C. Bar Pro Bono Program. She was 38.