The three grants will fund new teaching and research tools for in-vitro testing of pharmaceuticals, advanced characterization of powders, and imaging of nanoscale materials and processes.
"These projects provide our faculty with state-of-the-art technology and facilities that expand opportunities for our students and position the university as a leading institution dedicated to active and engaged student learning," Mike Smith, president of the URI Foundation, said in a statement. "We are very grateful to the Champlin Foundations for their continued support and investment in our teaching programs, faculty and students."
The three grants are:
Augmentation of the Good Manufacturing Practice Laboratory with addition of pharmaceutical in-vitro testing, $109,000: The Good Manufacturing Practice Laboratory at the URI College of Pharmacy provides students with industrial experience in understanding the regulatory requirements for manufacturing and testing of pharmaceutical products. Funds from the grant will be used to purchase in vitro testing equipment for evaluation of pharmaceuticals under simulated body conditions, which will enhance student learning in the lab. With the addition of this equipment, URI will be the first university to have an advanced in vitro testing system coupled with pharmaceutical manufacturing capabilities in a GMP lab, providing students with skills in great demand in the bioscience industry.
Undergraduate training and research for advanced production and characterization of powders, $158,500: This grant will fund acquisition of equipment for the advanced production and characterization of powders that will complement existing laboratory equipment and benefit students in a variety of disciplines, especially pharmacy and engineering. It will make URI the only university to provide undergraduate students with access to this technology.
An advanced hyperspectral imaging system to observe nanoscale materials and processes, $154,295: Funds from this grant will be used to purchase a hyperspectral microscope system that will allow students to gain fundamental insight into nanoscale materials, systems and processes with minimal time and training. The equipment can be used with ease in classrooms and laboratories throughout campus, enabling new approaches to undergraduate education in many disciplines and making students more competitive for employment.]]>
The Ocean State gained 600 jobs year-over-year, with 16,700 in November, a 3.7 percent increase, ranking it 20th among the states and District of Columbia. From October to November, construction jobs grew 1.8 percent, as 300 more jobs were added, ranking it 12th.
North Dakota ranked first for adding the highest percentage of new construction jobs on a year-over-year basis, with a 16.2 percent gain. Vermont had the highest percentage increase for the month, with an 8.1 percent gain in November, followed by Alaska (5 percent, 800 jobs), and New Jersey (4.2 percent, 5,200 jobs) and New Hampshire (3.6 percent, 800 jobs).
Year-over-year, Vermont ranked 27th for job growth of 2.1 percent.
The association said that construction firms added jobs in 38 states and the District of Columbia between November 2013 and November 2014, while construction employment increased in 26 states and D.C. between October and November.
"Construction job growth remains positive overall but volatile," Ken Simonson, the association's chief economist, said in a statement. "Although more than three-quarters of states have added construction jobs from year-earlier levels throughout 2014, the list of states with gains keeps changing. Only North Dakota, Louisiana and Oklahoma have exceeded their pre-recession peaks for construction employment this year, while most states are still at least 10 percent below previous highs."
Texas added more new construction jobs (47,300 jobs, 7.7 percent) between November 2013 and November 2014 than any other state.
West Virginia lost the highest percentage of construction jobs year-over-year (-11.3 percent, -3,800 jobs).
Association officials said the best way to ensure more stability in the construction market was for Congress and the Obama administration to work together to fund needed repairs to aging roads, transit, clean water and other infrastructure systems. "Investing in infrastructure will keep our economy vibrant while providing needed consistency to a construction sector that is experiencing a mild and inconsistent recovery," said Stephen E. Sandherr, the association's chief executive officer.
View the lost by state rank HERE.]]>
This is the second such settlement in recent months. In October, Kilmartin announced a settlement with AT&T over the same issue.
Kilmartin announced the T-Mobile settlement in a press release Friday. In addition to the R.I. Office of the Attorney General, the Attorneys General of the other 49 states and the District of Columbia, the Federal Trade Commission and the Federal Communications Commission all reached settlements with T-Mobile that includes at least $90 million in payments and resolves the "mobile cramming" allegations.
Kilmartin, in a press release, said that consumers who have been "crammed" often complain about charges, typically $9.99 per month, for "premium" text message subscription services such as horoscopes, trivia and sports scores, that the consumers have never heard of or requested.
The attorneys general and federal regulators allege that "cramming" occurred when T-Mobile placed charges from third parties on consumers' mobile telephone bills without the consumers' knowledge or consent.
Under the settlement terms, T-Mobile must provide each victim who files a claim under its Premium SMS Refund Program an opportunity for a full refund. The settlement terms require that T-Mobile pay at least $90 million; of this sum, at least $67.5 million must be paid to consumers - a portion of which may be paid by forgiving debts consumers may owe T-Mobile.
T-Mobile will also pay $18 million to the Attorneys General and $4.5 million to the FCC.
"The practice of cramming by mobile carriers relied on consumers not checking their monthly bills closely for hidden fees and charges. Companies that work hard to attract customers, especially in the highly competitive wireless communication industry, should be more mindful of how they treat the customers," Kilmartin said.
Consumers can submit claims under the Program by visiting]]>
The bureau said that state personal income growth averaged 1 percent in the third quarter, down from 1.2 percent in the second quarter. Personal income, which is the sum of net earnings by place of residence, property income and personal transfer receipts, slowed in 38 states and Washington, D.C.
Rhode Island was among states that had a gain in the third quarter, giving it an overall rank of 13, which was the second-highest among the New England states. Rhode Island's personal income grew 0.8 percent in the second quarter.
Massachusetts had the greatest personal income growth among New England states in the third quarter at 1.1 percent, ranking it No. 11. Personal income in the Bay State was $399.6 billion, compared with $395.3 billion. Second quarter personal income in Massachusetts grew by only 0.3 percent in comparison.
Vermont also experienced 1.1 percent growth in personal income in the third quarter, ranking it No. 15. New Hampshire registered the smallest gain in personal income in the third quarter at 0.3 percent, ranking it No. 47 among the states.]]>
Property manager Thomas Prendergast said the trailer houses a generator which is being used as a supplemental heating system for the vacant building, the city's tallest.
"The boiler is in really bad shape," he said Friday morning.
Prendergast said the trailer will be parked outside the building for the duration of the winter season, although a sign near it refers to an end date in May. He said the only purpose of the trailer is to supply heat, so once the need is over, the trailer will be removed.
Bank of America left the 1928 building in spring 2013. It is owned by High Rock Development, which is actively looking for a new tenant for the building, he said.
Functions have been held inside the building since the bank's departure, he said.
While he said the building is "structurally sound," some of its components, such as the heating system, are old and need upgrades.]]>
Cliatt, currently vice president for communications at Franklin & Marshall College, will succeed Marisa Quinn, who is joining the Watson Institute.
As vice president for communications, Cliatt will report directly to the president, and will serve on the university's Cabinet and Executive Committee.
As Brown's chief communications officer, Cliatt will be responsible for conceiving, implementing, evaluating and updating a strategic communications plan that supports and advances the university's goals and priorities.
She will serve as the primary media spokesperson, and will advise members of the senior administration, faculty and other Brown representatives on communication issues and opportunities. She will lead the Office of News and Communication, the Office of Web Communications and the Brown Alumni Magazine.
The Office of Government Relations and Community Affairs, currently part of Public Affairs and University Relations, will report to Russell Carey, executive vice president for policy and planning, beginning Jan. 1.
Cliatt's responsibilities at Franklin & Marshall included media relations, advancement and admissions communications, Web, multimedia and marketing.
Cliatt was recruited to Franklin & Marshall from Princeton University, where she worked from 2005-2011, first as director of media relations, then as director of news and editorial services. Among her responsibilities there were crisis communications and planning, issues management, media relations and the development of social media strategy and policy. Prior to Princeton, she was deputy director of communications and policy at the Cook County Clerk's office in Chicago.
Cliatt began her career as a reporter, serving as a city staff writer for the Daily Herald in Illinois. A 1996 graduate of Princeton University, she earned a master of science in journalism at Northwestern University's Medill School of Journalism.]]>
Officials from Church Community Housing Corporation, Washington County Community Development Corporation, U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, the Rhode Island Housing Resources Commission, Rhode Island Housing and community partners attended the event.
The historic church building and associated parish hall on Tower Hill Road have been transformed into the Belleville House, a $7.7 million project which features one manager's apartment and 35 handicapped-accessible rental homes for seniors who wish to remain independent and stay in their community.
The first phase, completed in May 2012, constructed 20 one-bedroom apartments in the former church and added a new addition to the rear of the building. Developers finished the second phase in June, creating another 15 one-bedroom apartments in the former parish hall, which was a separate building at the rear of property.
Financing for the project came from the federal HOME program, Building Homes Rhode Island and Community Development Block Grant funds through the town of North Kingstown. The Section 202 Supportive Housing for the Elderly Program, which earmarks federal funds for homes with supportive services for low-income seniors, played a major role in the creation of these rental homes, according to a press release from Rhode Island Housing.
"Here at Belleville House we see just how powerful partnerships between and among federal, state and local agencies can be when we link our investments to provide much-needed supportive housing for the elderly. Congratulations to Church Community Housing and all of the partners for their commitment to creating affordable housing in Rhode Island," Nancy Smith Greer, HUD Rhode Island Field Office director, said in a statement.
Each year, Rhode Island Housing receives approximately $3 million in federal HOME funds from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). These funds finance both rental and homeownership opportunities. Additionally, they are used to acquire property, rehabilitate existing properties and construct new affordable homes. In North Kingstown alone, HOME has assisted with the development of 69 affordable homes since 1995.
St. Bernard's Church was built in 1874. Developers purchased the property in early 2011 after the parish constructed a new church down the street. Although the building was in relatively good repair at time of the acquisition, an extensive rehabilitation and additional new construction was required in order to convert the building from a church to residential use.
Residents who are 62 years and older with an income at or below 50 percent of the area median income are able to live in the new senior community.
Belleville House residents pay 30 percent of their adjusted monthly income (currently, income limits are $25,300 for a single person and $29,900 for a two-person household). HUD provides a Project Rental Assistance Contract to cover the difference between the limited rent each resident pays and what it costs to operate the development. A Resident Services Coordinator provides supportive services to the residents in order to assist them in their day-to-day activities.
"These homes are located in a community where there is not a surplus of affordable housing for seniors," Carol Ventura, deputy director of Rhode Island Housing, said in a statement. "It not only meets the needs of the seniors wanting to live in North Kingstown, but it also helps the town achieve the affordable housing goals set by the state of Rhode Island. Safe, healthy and affordable homes for seniors are needed throughout our state, not just in the urban core."]]>
Household spending in 2015 will realize the type of gain typically associated with rosier economic times, according to economists including Mark Zandi. Instead of growing at the 2.2 percent average seen so far during this expansion, increases will be more in line with the 2.9 percent seen in the six years through 2007, if not the 4 percent surge during the record 10- year boom that ended in March 2001.
Unlike the recovery in stocks and home values that mostly benefited the well off during the first phase of this recovery, rising employment and low inflation are a boon to a wider swath of Americans. With expenditures accounting for almost 70 percent of the economy, outlays on items including furniture, clothing and restaurant meals will propel growth to a higher level.
"I don't think there's a single headwind for consumers, it's all tailwinds blowing at different strengths," said Zandi, chief economist for Moody's Analytics Inc. in West Chester, Pennsylvania, who projects consumer spending will grow 3.3 percent in 2015. "The expansion is truly out of the gates. We're off and running."
While most forecast purchases will strengthen, Zandi is among the most optimistic. Economists predict personal consumption will grow at a 2.8 percent annualized pace in the fourth quarter following a 2.2 percent gain in the previous three months, according to the median forecast in a Bloomberg survey taken Dec. 5 to Dec. 10. It will increase 2.7 percent in 2015, making it the best year since 2006, the survey showed.
For Morgan Stanley, a pickup in wages adjusted for inflation holds the key to better times.
"We don't have all our eggs in one basket anymore where we're just relying on the wealthy to drive spending," said Ellen Zentner, a senior economist at the New York-based bank. "We've seen the pace of spending among middle- and lower-income households start to pick up, and that's in reaction to the better labor market that's finally bringing the nascent signs of a pick-up in wage growth." Morgan Stanley projects spending will grow 2.8 percent in 2015.
Employers have added 2.65 million workers to payrolls so far this year, which is already the biggest annual gain since 1999. At 5.8 percent, the jobless rate matches the lowest since mid-2008, and is quickly approaching the 5.2 percent to 5.5 percent that Federal Reserve policy makers consider full employment.
The breadth of industries hiring last month was the most extensive since 1998, a sign that the benefits of the expansion are rippling through the economy, figures from the Labor Department showed.
Persistently low inflation will help wage gains look even bigger. Consumer prices fell 0.3 percent in November, the most since December 2008, the Labor Department reported this week. The retreat was led by a plunge in energy costs that continues to unfold.
That meant that weekly earnings adjusted for inflation climbed 0.9 percent on average last month, the biggest advance in six years.
The brightening pay outlook is starting to sink into Americans' psyche. Consumers forecast incomes will grow 1.8 percent over the next 12 months, the most since September 2008, according the preliminary December report from the Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan consumer sentiment survey. Those younger than 45 years old saw the biggest gain, the report said.
Households are already thinking of how to spend the cash. More consumers said they were likely to buy durable goods such as appliances and televisions than at any time since 2007, plans to buy automobiles matched the prior month as the strongest since 2005, and Americans were the most favorably disposed toward purchasing a house in a decade, the report showed.
Still, Tom Porcelli, the top forecaster of the monthly consumer spending figures according to data compiled by Bloomberg, remains unconvinced that the readings are about to take a decided step up thanks to nascent pay increases.
Wage gains take about a year to propel purchases, so there is little reason to get overly excited just yet, said Porcelli, chief U.S. economist at RBC Capital Markets LLC in New York, who projects consumption will increase 2.3 percent in 2015, matching this year's advance.
"What has really changed in a dramatic enough way to get that extra lift?" he said. "The reality is, not much."
Households this year have shown a propensity to save rather than spend, and until there is concrete evidence that's changing, then consumption will keep growing modestly, he said, though acknowledging that the risks are to the upside.
The persistent drop in fuel costs is prompting other economists to tweak forecasts for the better. Analysts at Goldman Sachs Group Inc. in New York project the decrease in gasoline prices will be equivalent to a $100 billion to $125 billion tax cut for Americans, which will boost growth by as much as 0.5 percentage point next year, according to a report earlier this month.
Before the November meeting of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, they had penciled in a $75 billion boost, or 0.3 percentage point. That gathering produced no agreement to cut production in order to prop up the market, which sent crude-oil prices tumbling further.
Goldman Sachs economists estimate consumer spending will increase 3 percent in 2015 and gross domestic product will expand 3.1 percent, which would be its best year since 2005.
Their research shows middle-income households spend the most on gasoline as a share of total household purchases, which means they'll see the biggest benefit, according to the Dec. 9 report from Goldman's Kris Dawsey. Lower-income Americans will use the extra cash to buy more gasoline, while those higher up the pay scale will use the windfall to trade up for more expensive vehicles, including pickup trucks and SUVs, Dawsey said.
As wages grow and credit becomes more readily available, research by economists at Morgan Stanley shows furniture stores, vehicle dealers, clothing outlets, restaurants and hotels are among the retailers that benefit the most.
That brings up another tailwind in consumers' favor: low debt and a budding willingness to take on a little more. While the level of household borrowing climbed 0.7 percent to $11.71 trillion in the third quarter, that's still less than the $12.68 trillion record reached in the third quarter of 2008, according to the Federal Reserve Bank of New York's quarterly report on household debt and credit.
"Financially, consumers are better off," said Michael Carey, chief economist for North America at Credit Agricole CIB in New York and the second-best forecaster of quarterly consumer spending figures over the last two years, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. He forecast a 2.9 percent increase in expenditures for next year.
"You've got your debt down to levels that are reasonable, your labor market conditions are making some really significant gains, so people are feeling much more comfortable and they're willing to spend."]]>
However, that was below the national employment increase of 2 percent, according to recently released data from the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Providence County employed 279,200 people in June at 17,400 establishments, and its 1.7 percent growth rate ranked it No. 167 in terms of employment growth among the 339 largest counties, the BLS said.
Around New England, none of the counties surveyed matched or surpassed the 2 percent national job growth.
Rockingham County, N.H., had the highest employment growth among New England counties at 1.9 percent, ranking it No. 141, while Essex County in Massachusetts experienced 1.8 percent growth, with 320,000 people working in June, ranking it No. 152 on the list.
A total of 222,300 people worked at 16,300 establishments in Bristol County, Mass., an increase of 1.1 percent over the prior year, ranking it No. 235 on the list.
Chittenden County, Vt., experienced job growth of 1.4 percent, ranking it No. 194.
New London, Conn., was the only New England county to register a decline, 0.4 percent, ranking it No. 324 on the list.
Average weekly wages for Providence County were $928 in June, an increase of 2.2 percent compared with the prior year period, ranking the area No. 123 in wages among the 339 largest counties. Among the largest counties, 312 had over-the-year increases in average weekly wages, according to the BLS. Midland, Texas, had the largest wage increase among the largest U.S. counties at 9 percent. The average weekly wage was $940 nationally.
The top New England counties in terms of wage gains were Hillsborough, N.H., with a 7.4 percent gain to $1,059 (No. 3); Rockingham, N.H. (No. 22), with a 4 percent rise to $944; and Suffolk, Mass. (No. 29), with a 3.7 percent rise to $1,463.
According to the report, 138 million Americans worked at 9.4 million workplace establishments in the second quarter of 2014.]]>
Dunkin' shares tumbled 6.9 percent to $43.05 at the close in New York on Thursday, for the biggest decline since November 2011. The stock began trading in July of that year. The shares are down 11 percent this year.
The Canton, Mass.-based company is suffering from sluggish sales of packaged coffee and slow consumer spending. Its joint ventures in South Korea and Japan also are under pressure, Dunkin' Brands said Thursday when it released the new forecast.
"This has been a challenging year for our businesses," Nigel Travis, Dunkin' Brands CEO, said in a statement. "While our earnings growth expectations for 2015 are below our longer-term targets, we are committed to returning to double-digit growth in the subsequent years."
Dunkin' projected 2015 earnings of $1.88 to $1.91 a share, excluding some items. Analysts had estimated $2.02 on average, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. The company expects sales growth of 5 percent to 7 percent, compared with an analyst prediction of 7 percent.]]>