Rodney Scheel, who transformed Madison's old Hotel Washington into a mix of restaurants, music venues, bars and other tenants (including Isthmus, from 1977-83), bids farewell in a Citizen column headlined "Reflections on a Good Life." He refers fondly to the hotel as "a place where gay persons, straight persons - any person - can come and be comfortable. My customers and my friends are diverse, and it is that happy quality that endears them to me." Scheel, now "very sick" with AIDS, is turning management of the hotel over to his brother Greg. "Do everything in your power to protect yourselves and others from this disease," he urges. "The AIDS epidemic is killing hundreds of people every day. We must stop it! You must do your part." Scheel dies on July 12, 1990, and a Madison housing facility for people with AIDS and HIV is named in his honor. Fire destroys the Hotel Washington in 1996.