In addition to local officials, guest presenters from Denver, Minneapolis and Hartford, Conn., will be featured. They will discuss how they are improving their own mass transit and how similar strategies could work in the Ocean State, according to a news release about the event.
The forum, which will be held from 8:30 to 11:30 a.m., is being sponsored by Rhode Island Coalition for Transportation Choices, a 45-member group of public transit advocacy organizations.
Peter Garino, deputy director, R.I. Department of Transportation, and Amy Pettine, executive director, planning, Rhode Island Public Transit Authority, will participate in a panel discussion with other local transit experts and state agency representatives about what the state can do to improve transit.
For information, visit http://www.rictc.net/2015/10/26/next-stop-making-transit-work-for-ri/.]]>
The Boston Globe is reporting that UMass President Martin T. Meehan has moved to dismiss Grossman by the end of the academic year amid concerns about the campus' performance.
Grossman has been in her post for 3 years. The article states that under her tenure, both enrollment and private fundraising have fallen.
The article states that Grossman is making approximately $300,000 this year. She receives a $12,000-per-year vehicle allowance, $32,000 a year for housing and $8,000 per year for life insurance. Her contract states that if she is terminated as chancellor, she has the option to stay on as a tenured professor, the Globe said.
According to the UMass website, Meehan was inaugurated as the 27th president of the UMass system on Nov. 12. Meehan, former chancellor of UMass Lowell, took office July 1.
The university quoted Grossman as saying this about Meehan after the inauguration, "President Meehan brings a passion, intensity and commitment to excellence that will take the university to even greater accomplishments."]]>
The Nov. 24 letter from the Nasdaq Stock Market LLC's listing qualifications staff said that based on the closing bid price of the company's common stock for the last 30 consecutive business days, the stock no longer meets the requirement to maintain a minimum closing bid price of $1 per share.
Towerstream (NASDAQ: TWER) closed at 46 cents on Wednesday. Over the past 52 weeks, the stock price has ranged from a low of 41 cents to a high of $2.55.
Though the filing said the notice "has no immediate effect on the listing of the common stock on the Nasdaq Capital Market," it did say the company has a grace period of 180 days, or until May 23, to regain compliance with the minimum closing bid price requirement to continue to be listed.
To regain compliance, the minimum closing bid price per share of the common stock must be at least $1 for at least 10 consecutive business days, the filing said.
The filing said that if the company does not regain compliance with the bid price requirement by May 23, it may be eligible for an additional 180-day grace period.
Towerstream recently reported third-quarter results, showing a decline in revenue and loss.
Revenue declined 6 percent to $7.8 million from $8.3 million. The loss widened to $8.5 million in the third quarter, or 13 cents per diluted share, from a loss of $6.3 million, or 9 cents per share, a year ago.]]>
The National Retail Federation has projected that the 3.7 percent hike for both November and December sales, excluding autos, gas and restaurant sales, will be slightly below 2014's increase of 4.1 percent, but higher than 2.5 percent, the national average over the past 10 years.
"The forecast for growth is a bit slower [than last year's]," said Kathy Grannis Allen, the federation's senior director of media relations, in an email, "because there are still some economic indicators out there that show consumers are not at full spending capacity, meaning they are still quite deliberate with their purchases. Overall we are expecting solid growth, though."
At least one major and one smaller outlet confirmed that Black Friday traffic has been strong.
"This year at midnight there were more people than last year," said Domenic Schiavone, general manager at the Warwick Mall.
Turnout this year exceeded that of the past three years, Schiavone said, with up to 600 people waiting in line during the wee hours at J.C. Penney and a line for Target wrapped around the building to the rear loading dock.
"All of our entrances had lines, so we are very busy," he said. "Now, the place is really humming."
Aaron G. Garabedian, co-managing partner at the mall, said he believes the recent trend in lower gasoline prices has been a factor in encouraging consumer spending.
"Without question, Rhode Island consumers have got more money in their pockets, and it adds to the spending power," Garabedian said. "I'm convinced of that."
At What Cheer, a Providence record store, where April's National Record Store Day is being repeated on Black Friday, sales are brisk, said owner Chris Daltry.
"Record Store Day has made it relevant to people because we get lots of releases and we have live bands here," he said. "It makes it a fun alternative to the ugliness of Black Friday."
The store opened at 10 a.m. and has been doing "great" so far, he said. "The holidays are definitely our best time; we're entering our best month. We will do in one month what we do in six months otherwise, so it's very good for us," he said.]]>
Small Business Saturday focuses nationwide on local restaurants, retailers and businesses the day after Black Friday, which is known for holiday sales at big box retailers.
The following districts will feature the limited free parking from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.:
Atwells Avenue - Bradford Street to Knight Street
Broad Street - Public Street to Montgomery Street
Downtown Providence - bounded by Fountain Street, Memorial Boulevard, Weybosset Street
Empire Street and Friendship Street - from Dyer Street to Dorrance Street
Federal Hill Neighborhood - Spruce Street, Bond Street and Acorn Street
Hope Street - Rochambeau Avenue to Blackstone Boulevard
North Main Street - Thomas Street to Park Row
Olneyville Square - Route 10 to Sydney Street and Delaine Street to Atwood Street to Magnolia Street
South Main Street - James Street to Packet Street
Point Street - From Eddy to East Franklin streets
Thayer Street - Waterman to Bowen streets
Wayland Square - East Angell Street/Angell Street to Gano Street and Wayland Avenue from Angell to Pitman streets
Wickenden/Ives - Wickenden Street at Benefit Street to Ives Street at Preston Street
Elorza on Wednesday joined businesses owners and Greater Providence Chamber of Commerce representatives to kick-off the #ThinkPVD campaign, which encourages residents and visitors to "think, shop and buy locally" in the city this holiday season.
"When you shop this holiday season, I ask that you not only to buy local when buying gifts for loved ones but to #ThinkPVD in every aspect of your purchases," Elorza said in a statement. "This Saturday as we celebrate Small Business Saturday nationwide, I encourage you to take advantage of the amazing Providence-based shops and restaurants we have here in the creative capital."
Business owners, shoppers and diners are encouraged to share their experiences this season using the hashtag #ThinkPVD on social media.]]>
And Massachusetts and Connecticut are even safer.
Estately, a real estate blog, ranked the states according to where fights are most likely to break out on traditionally what is one of the biggest shopping days of the year.
Estately wrote on its blog, "Without fail some of these shopping scrums end in fisticuffs as shoppers exchange blows over who gets the last discounted video game console or Rachel Ray cookware set."
Rhode Island ranked 11th safest, while Massachusetts held the top spot for safety, and Connecticut, sixth.
Arkansas is the state most likely to see fights break out over shopping deals, followed by Tennessee, Alabama, Louisiana and Missouri.
Estately said it came up with the list by looking at Facebook data to find out how where users are interested in Black Friday deals and by measuring the frequency of aggravated assaults based on FBI crime reports last year.
Based on those two categories, Arkansas came out on top for ranking eighth for frequency of aggravated assaults and fourth for Black Friday sales enthusiasm.
Rhode Island was 39th for frequency of Black Friday assaults, and 35th for enthusiasm of Black Friday sales.
The New York Daily News reported that Black Friday problems got an early start in Louisville, Ky. on Thanksgiving night when two men got into a fight at the mall food court. The paper said it was unclear what sparked the fight.]]>
First-time jobless claims dropped by 12,000 in the week ended Nov. 21 to 260,000, the fewest in a month, a Labor Department report showed Wednesday. The number of claims reached 255,000 in mid-July, the lowest since December 1973.
Companies are limiting dismissals as a tighter labor market has made it more difficult to attract and keep skilled laborers. Payrolls increased in October by the most in 10 months while the unemployment rate fell to a seven-year low, indicating robust employment that may persuade the Federal Reserve to raise its benchmark interest rate next month.
The median forecast in a Bloomberg survey of 44 economists projected 270,000 jobless claims, with estimates ranging from 260,000 to 282,000. The previous week's figures were revised to 272,000 from an initially reported 271,000.
The four-week average of claims, a less-volatile measure than the weekly figure, held at 271,000.
While there was nothing unusual in the data, claims for Louisiana were estimated because the state was switching to a new system for handling applications, according to the Labor Department.
The number of people continuing to receive jobless benefits increased to 2.21 million in the week ended Nov. 14 from 2.17 million. In that same period, the unemployment rate among people eligible for benefits held at 1.6 percent, the report showed. These data are reported with a one-week lag.
The data will help shape Fed policy makers' views of the labor market leading up to their December meeting, as they contemplate whether the economy is strong enough to withstand the first interest-rate increase since 2006.]]>
Days ahead of Black Friday, short interest on Mattel Inc. is hovering near an all-time high, reflecting skepticism the toymaker will deliver this holiday season. After surging all year, bearish bets as a percentage of shares outstanding sit at about 21 percent for the El Segundo, Calif.-based manufacturer, just below a record of almost 22 percent in October, according to data compiled by Bloomberg and Markit Ltd. The stock rose 1.8 percent on Wednesday to close at a three-week high of $24.81.
Pessimism is lingering even after Mattel, maker of Barbie dolls and Hot Wheels toys, broke out of a downward price trend monitored by chart analysts and recently attracted a 9.1 million-share investment from hedge fund Jana Partners LLC, led by frequent activist founder Barry Rosenstein.
By comparison, investors are sanguine on Mattel's biggest publicly traded competitor: Hasbro Inc., which has a licensing agreement to sell merchandise related to the Dec. 18 release of "Star Wars: The Force Awakens." Short interest as a percentage of shares outstanding on Hasbro is 4.3 percent, down from a one- year high of 9.8 percent in March.
The stock is up 39 percent in 2015, about three times as much as consumer discretionary stocks in the S&P 500.
"It's a massive short on Mattel," some of which probably reflects a "piling on" effect, said Jim Stellakis, founder and director of research at Greenwich, Conn.-based Technical Alpha Inc. Investors may be doubling down on past performance after "Hasbro's been killing it since 2013 and Mattel has been the laggard."
From March 1, 2013, through the end of the third quarter, Hasbro shares outperformed Mattel by 128 percentage points. Since then, Mattel has led Hasbro by almost 12 points. The bull case for Hasbro is "so well telegraphed and everybody sees it now," which prompted Stellakis to issue a sell recommendation on the stock a few weeks ago. "There's been a huge divergence between the two stocks, but that seems to be starting to switch."
Mattel missed the median forecast of analysts' sales expectations in seven of the past eight quarters. By comparison, Hasbro was below the consensus estimate in only five and beat expectations for earnings in seven of eight quarters.
Investors may be too skeptical on Mattel, particularly as the toymaker could be "gaining some steam" ahead of the all- important sales season, said Sean McGowan, an analyst at Oppenheimer & Co. The bear case for the stock has many of the same elements of the past few years: sluggish sales and currency headwinds. "Expectations continue to be that Mattel is struggling."
McGowan rated the company an outperform in August, primarily because of better shipment figures and a less pessimistic fourth-quarter outlook from the company, he said. Even after Mattel reported third-quarter sales and earnings that missed analysts expectations on Oct. 15, the stock jumped 6 percent the next day.
Forecasts call for slower sales during the holiday season this year, according to the National Retail Federation and Deloitte LLP. Even so, an NFR survey showed 21 percent of holiday shoppers plan to purchase a Barbie for girls, topping the list after losing out to characters from the movie "Frozen" in 2014. Star Wars landed in the No. 2 spot on the boys list for this year, and made No. 10 on the girls list.
While there's a lot of hype around the first Star Wars movie in seven years, that may not necessarily translate to sales of related merchandise for Hasbro.
"Expectations are that Hasbro will have a great holiday season," McGowan said. "We're not sure what the outcome will be yet though."]]>
Sullivan has been in state service for nearly a decade and has led the Division of Taxation through a number of major changes, including implementation of two major tax reforms and the conversion of the agency's computer systems, according to a news release from the Department of Revenue.
Sullivan will join Dallas-based Ryan LLC, a global tax services firm, where he will become director, legislative consulting, for Ryan Advocacy Services, a unit of Ryan LLC. He will work out of the company's Providence office, dealing with clients' tax matters.
Said Gov. Gina M. Raimondo, "David has been a pleasure to work with. He is a talented leader who has handled multiple tasks skillfully while holding down two jobs for the state, and he will be sorely missed. We wish him the very best in his next adventure."
Sullivan's last day as tax administrator and acting DOR director will be Dec. 11.
Marilyn Shannon McConaghy, DOR administrative and legal support services administrator, will serve as acting DOR director, and Neena Savage, associate director of revenue services and assistant tax administrator, will serve as acting tax administrator.
"We have in place a team of professionals at the DOR and at taxation who will keep the agencies running well while the transition takes place and we engage in a search for permanent replacements," Raimondo said.
Sullivan was appointed tax administrator in July 2006, and acting DOR director in April.
Said Sullivan, "At the Department of Revenue, and at the Division of Taxation, it has been my pleasure to work with such a fine team of dedicated, hard-working state employees."]]>
Cash collections totaled $1.2 billion fiscal year to date, $39.8 million higher than the same period a year ago. Personal income tax grew 6.3 percent during that period, to $397.7 million, and sales and use tax increased 3.9 percent, to $351.3 million, while lottery transfer fell 7 percent, to $89.9 million, the state agency said.
Acting Director of Revenue David M. Sullivan blamed the lottery transfer decrease on the opening of the Plainridge Park Casino in Plainville, Mass. Sullivan said all other general revenue sources, which had the greatest increase at 10.6 percent, were boosted by the business corporations tax.
For the month of October alone, cash collections were $248.2 million, approximately $5 million less than the prior year period. Departmental receipts, lottery transfer and all other general revenue sources all experienced declines in October, of 11.9 percent, 5 percent and 20.9 percent, respectively, according to information from the state.
"The state has definitely seen a softening in cash collections in October with departmental receipts, the lottery transfer, and all other general revenues below the levels received in October of 2014 and sales and use tax collections barely eking out a gain on a year-over-year basis. This is in sharp contrast to October 2014 when total general revenues cash collections were up 4.4 percent on a year-over-year basis. Hopefully, this slowdown is a one month anomaly," Sullivan said in a statement.
"The decline in lottery transfer cash collections for October 2015 was less than one-half of the decline realized in September 2015 on a year-over-year basis indicating that the Plainridge Park Casino ... is having a lessening impact on the state's two gaming facilities," Sullivan continued.
Personal income tax grew 5.7 percent in October, to $92.5 million, while sales and use tax increased 0.4 percent, to $83.5 million.]]>