American Democracy Project researchers asked Rhode Island voters to participate in a post-gubernatorial debate focus group session on Oct. 30. Groups included a millennial focus group, comprised of the state's youngest voters to determine how their responses to candidate performance differed from other voter groups.
Audience feedback about the 2014 gubernatorial race between Republican Allan Fung and Democrat Gina Raimondo showed that citizens feel a "sense of fatigue" about the gubernatorial campaign, and that a majority of citizens feel a sense of cynicism about candidates and the campaign process.
Feedback also showed that citizens will vote on Tuesday for their favored candidate, but are skeptical about the new governor's ability to increase the availability of jobs in Rhode Island or improve the state's economic outlook.
Audience feedback about the Oct. 30 debate also included:
Millennials felt that Raimondo and Fung lacked transparency in their answers and said that, as a result, they find it more difficult to trust either candidate.
Several participants stated the debate left them unsettled.
Nearly every participant agreed that the candidates failed to add anything new to discussion on the issues and resorted to scripted answers during the debate.
Participants felt scripted responses during the debate blurred the voters' decision-making process.
Participants felt that candidate performances during the debate did not offer a clear sense of personal traits while off camera or a clear sense of how the candidates would govern.
"Unlike other focus groups ADP at RIC has conducted for past gubernatorial races, this year was unusual in that there was a consistent sense of pessimism about the entire political process, including faith in the candidates' ability to improve the economy and effect positive change," Val Endress, associate professor of communication and director of the ADP at RIC, said in a statement.
Focus research was led by Endress and Kay Israel, associate professor of communication and associate director of the ADP at RIC. The research team included nine undergraduate students who served as facilitators for the focus groups and helped to compile research results.
"Feelings of frustration seemed evident across the focus groups," Israel said. "The participants' candidate preference differed, but their cynicism was uniform across party lines."]]>
This past August, the state collected $2,612,907 as compared with $2,403,916 a year ago, at rate of growth of 8.7 percent, said Director of Revenue Rosemary Booth Gallogly. However, the rate of growth a year ago was 11.6 percent.
Likewise, in fiscal-year-to-date data, the department collected $4,754,365 this year so far, at a 6 percent rate of growth over the previous year to date of $4,486,452. However, that rate of growth is also less than the prior year, when it measured 8.7 percent.
This state tax is levied on the rental of lodging for less than 30 consecutive days at the state's hotels, motels and some bed and breakfasts.
"This slowdown in state hotel tax collections growth may portend slower growth in the tourism market for the coming year," Gallogly said in a press release.
However, she noted that in the new fiscal year, state hotel tax collections boosted tourism promotion budgets statewide by just over $140,000.
"With those extra monies, I am confident that we will see increased visitations over the rest of the fiscal year as the result of these enhanced promotion efforts," stated Gallogly.
Collected by the Division of Taxation, the money is disbursed by a complicated formula to state general revenues, local municipalities, eight regional tourism bureaus, as well as the Rhode Island Convention Center Authority and the Providence Warwick Convention Visitors Bureau.
The full report can be found at http://www.dor.ri.gov/Revenue%20Briefs/.]]>
The company, which owns a substantial portion of the Capital Center area of Providence and also owns a petroleum storage facility in East Providence and an offloading pier in Narragansett Bay, reported total revenues of $2,014,000, an increase of 58 percent compared with revenue of $1,274,000 for the prior year period.
For the three months that ended Sept. 30, leasing revenue increased $19,000 to $1,130,000 from 2013's $1,111,000 due to scheduled increases in rentals under both short-term and long-term leases. Leasing expenses also increased $19,000, from $197,000 to $216,000 during the same period because of expenses for the Steeple Street building.
Starting May 1, the company entered into a five-year agreement with Sprague Operating Resources LLC, for entire storage of the petroleum facility for $3.5 million annually. Petroleum storage facility revenue increased $721,000 from 2013 due to the Sprague agreement, from $163,000 to $884,000 in the third quarter. Expenses for the facility decreased $165,000 from third quarter 2013 to third quarter 2014, $764,000 to $605,000.
On a year-to-date basis, Capital Properties revenue increased 17 percent during the first nine months of 2014 to $5.7 million, while net income increased 85 percent to $975,000, or 15 cents per share.
The stock (OTCQX:CPTP) was trading at $12.08 early Friday afternoon, up 58 cents.]]>
The three-year plan features goals and strategies for saving energy and reducing bills to allow Rhode Island to provide low-cost, clean energy to homes and businesses.
It was developed with the Acadia Center, the Energy Efficiency and Resource Management Council, the Division of Public Utilities and Carriers, the Office of Energy Resources, the Energy Council of Rhode Island, Consumers' Energy Alliance and National Grid, according to a press release from Acadia Center.
Acadia represents environmental interests on the state's Energy Efficiency and Resource Management Council, which provides independent input and oversight to National Grid's electric and natural gas efficiency programs.
Since 2008, Rhode Island has invested about $558 million in cost-effective energy efficiency, with consumers realizing approximately $1.9 billion in benefits.
By investing in as much low-cost energy efficiency as possible, Rhode Island is reducing the cost of doing business in the state and leaving consumers with more money in their pockets.
Acadia said that every dollar invested in cost-effective energy efficiency boosts the Rhode Island gross state product an estimated $3.60 and that every $1 million invested in energy efficiency generates almost 40 job years of employment.
If fully implemented, the 2015-2017 Energy Efficiency Procurement Plan will boost Rhode Island's economy by $1.27 billion.
The R.I. Division of Public Utilities commissioned Synapse Energy Economics to analyze how energy efficiency affects electric bills.
The analysis found that a homeowner who gets a home energy assessment can save approximately 12 percent on an electric bill by replacing inefficient lighting and appliances, and upgrading home insulation and weatherization.
"By approving the 2015-2017 Energy Efficiency Procurement Plan, the Rhode Island Public Utilities Commission took another big step to ensure that [Rhode Island] continues its nation-leading levels of energy savings. Energy efficiency lowers the cost of doing business in Rhode Island and puts money back in the wallets of all consumers," Acadia Center President Dan Sosland said in a statement.
Last week, the American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy announced that Rhode Island earned a third place ranking in the annual State Energy Efficiency Scorecard. The Scorecard ranks states in six energy saving categories; in the category for utility energy efficiency programs and policies, Rhode Island tied for first with Massachusetts.]]>
Citizens Bank topped the "best for convenience" category.
With 1,228 branches in 11 states, the magazine said Citizens is a winner because it "makes it easy to find help."
"The bank has representatives available by phone at all times and by instant messaging 55 hours a week. Additionally, Citizens scored well with its customers in the most recent American-Banker/Reputation survey," Citizens' description on the magazine's website stated.
Citizens' extended hours --; which include seven-days-a-week supermarket branches - also were noted by the magazine.
One drawback - Money Magazine said the bank isn't great for interest seekers as the highest-paying savings account offers only 0.03 percent on $10,000.
"We are proud to once again be recognized by Money Magazine as one of the best banks in America," Brad Conner, vice chairman of Consumer Banking for Citizens Bank, said in a statement. "Our customers choose to bank with us because of how easy it is to access their accounts when and how they want, through local branches, ATMs and online and mobile banking."
Citizens recently enhanced its Mobile Banking apps. Mobile Deposit also offers customers the ability to deposit checks quickly by using the mobile device's video camera, eliminating the need to tap a button and making check deposits quick and simple. The Fast Balance feature allows busy, on-the-go customers to view account balances without needing to log in to their Mobile Banking app account, Citizens stated.
Money Magazine ranked TD Bank as the best big bank and Ally as the best online bank.
Read the rest of the list here.]]>
"The decision to authorize a review of Rhode Island's constitution must not be taken lightly, as opening the constitution to review is not without risk. Each individual voter must determine whether there are sufficient safeguards in place to control the level of risk associated with this process, and whether the potential rewards of reform merit the risk," the council stated.
The nonprofit public policy research and education organization is not taking a stand on the issue.
The Rhode Island Constitution includes a requirement that voters be asked every ten years if they wish to convene a constitutional convention, and Rhode Island has historically held 11 constitutional conventions, the most recent of which was in 1986.
"Holding a constitutional convention is the most important decision on this year's ballot," John C. Simmons, executive director of RIPEC, said in a statement, "as virtually any topic related to state or local government would be subject to consideration at the convention."
Simmons added, "The delegates would be free to consider any constitutional amendments or revisions that they see fit, including topics that have not received much public attention. There are clear risks and rewards to this process, which must be weighed prior to voting."
Some of the questions RIPEC asks voters to consider are: will a convention divert Rhode Island leaders' attention away from other pressing issues, such as the relatively weak economy; will campaign finance laws apply to candidates seeking election as delegates; and what impact will outside special interest groups have on the convention.
Read RIPEC's report HERE.]]>
Seventeen sectors are evaluated to compile the list, including energy efficiency, biofuels and biochemicals, transportation, and water and wastewater, according to Cleantech, which is based in San Francisco.
NanoSteel develops nano-structured steel for a number of industries, including protective coatings, powders, foils and sheet steel for oil and gas, mining, power, cement and concrete applications. Utilidata is an energy optimization and management company.
"The Global Cleantech 100 represents the most inspiring array of entrepreneurs across the cleantech space that are at the forefront of innovation," Sheeraz Haji, Cleantech Group's CEO, said in a statement. "It is a true honor to gather with the global cleantech community every year to recognize and celebrate the achievements of each of the top 100 companies as they continue to solve tomorrow's energy and resource challenges and redefine sustainable innovation."
To qualify for the Global Cleantech 100, companies must be independent, for-profit, cleantech companies not listed on any major stock exchange. This year, a record number of nominations were received: 5,995 companies from 60 countries. These companies were weighted and scored to create a short list of 327 companies. Short-listed nominees were reviewed by Cleantech Group's expert panel, resulting in a final list of 100 companies from 17 countries.
View the entire list HERE]]>
The Rhode Island clinics are part of MinuteClinic's plan to add 150 clinics nationwide in 2014.
Woonsocket's clinic is at 1054 Cass Ave., Cranston's is at 681 Reservoir Ave. and Wakefield, 11 Main St.
MinuteClinic locations are open seven days a week with no appointment necessary. Most major health insurance is accepted in Rhode Island, including Medicare and Medicaid health plans. For patients paying cash or credit, treatment prices are posted at each clinic and on www.minuteclinic.com. The cost for most services starts at $79.
"MinuteClinic is the latest innovation CVS Health is bringing to its home state to help expand access to high quality care and lower costs," Dr. Andrew Sussman, president, MinuteClinic and senior vice president/ associate chief medical officer, CVS Health, said in a statement. "As we have experienced elsewhere in New England and across the U.S., MinuteClinic can support the primary care medical model by offering services at convenient locations near where patients live and work and at times when traditional options may not be available."
The Rhode Island clinics are included in a clinical collaboration between MinuteClinic and Lifespan to enhance continuity of care with the primary care community. Lifespan is Rhode Island's largest health system.
The clinics are staffed by MinuteClinic nurse practitioners and physician assistants who specialize in family health care and can diagnose, treat and write prescriptions for common family illnesses such as strep throat and ear, eye, sinus, bladder and bronchial infections. Minor wounds, abrasions, skin conditions and knee and ankle sprains are treated, and common vaccinations such as influenza, tetanus, pneumonia and Hepatitis A & B are available.
"About 50 percent of MinuteClinic visits occur on evenings, weekends and holidays when patients may not be able to get an appointment with their primary care provider," Sussman said. "For the large number of patients who do not have a primary care physician, we provide a list of local physicians taking new patients for future care."
MinuteClinic also will collaborate with the Rhode Island Free Clinic, providing care for free to its patients, as part of its overall commitment to increasing access to affordable health care in Rhode Island. CVS Health already provides free medications for these patients at several CVS/pharmacy locations in the state.
"The support of MinuteClinic nurse practitioners and physician assistants in providing care to our patients, will be a great complement to the quality care provided at Rhode Island Free Clinic," Marie Ghazal Rhode Island Free Clinic CEO said in a statement.
The MinuteClinic walk-in medical clinics in Rhode Island operate from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m., Monday through Friday; 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., Saturday; and 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Sunday.
MinuteClinic will open in East Greenwich at 1285 South County Trail, North Smithfield at 120 Eddie Dowling Highway, Providence at 799 Hope St. and Westerly at 151 Franklin St. later this year or next year.]]>
The merger would lessen competition for broadcast television spot advertising without the divestitures, the Justice Department's antitrust division said in a statement today.
"This competition benefits advertisers and ultimately consumers," said Bill Baer, the head of the antitrust division.
The transaction was announced in March amid U.S. television acquisitions by companies including Gannett Co. seeking to take advantage of climbing fees from cable providers. Payments by cable companies to carry local broadcasts have made the business more lucrative, providing a new source of revenue on top of ad sales.
Media general, based in Richmond, Va., agreed to sell stations serving markets in Alabama, Georgia, Florida, Rhode Island, Massachusetts and Wisconsin, the U.S. said.
Back in August, Media general said that it would sell WJAR-Channel 10 to Maryland-based Sinclair Broadcast Group. Sinclair will also acquire LIN Media's FOX and CW affiliates in the Green Bay-Appleton, Wis., market (WLUK-TV and WCWF-TV, respectively).
Media general said in a statement it's pleased with the settlement.
LIN still owns WPRI-Channel 12.]]>
"Rhode Island is obviously a small state, easy to get in and out of, so the fact that President Obama has chosen to spend the night is a huge honor and privilege," says Martha Sheridan, president of the Providence Warwick Convention and Visitors Bureau. Downtown Providence, she said, was abuzz in anticipation.
Obama's last visit was a day trip, and President Clinton had an equally short visit, Sheridan said. By contrast, both Presidents Kennedy and Eisenhower enjoyed vacations in Newport.
That said, the purpose of this trip is business, not pleasure. On Friday the president will give a speech at Providence's Rhode Island College.
"We hope President Obama takes a few minutes to stop and smell the roses, so to speak," said Sheridan, noting the Italian restaurants in Federal Hill, the trendy West Side, the architecture near Brown University, and Point Judith calamari (locally caught, fried, tossed with garlic butter and sliced cherry peppers).
Seafood in the Ocean State makes sense, but given the president's dining habits, and the fact that Michelle Obama is on the trip, our bets are on dinner at hotspots that begin with lowercase letters--;north, or birch--;both of which are close to the hotel where he's expected to stay.
"People think they can do Providence in a day," Sheridan said, "But there's a whole weekend's worth of activities here."]]>