Business

50 Years Of Theater
5:06 am
Tue December 31, 2013

Hartford Stage Sees Better Economy, Brighter Future

The cast of "The Tempest" from Hartford Stage's 2011-2012 season.
T. Charles Erickson

It’s that time of the year when miserly Ebenezer Scrooge and sweet Tiny Tim electrify the Hartford Stage with their heart-warming story, like they have these past 15 years. But now, in honor of the theater's 50th anniversary season, the production has redesigned costumes, more special effects, and new lighting.

The holiday cheer is much needed. The multiple award-winning Hartford Stage, like its counterparts nationwide, has struggled through the tough economy.

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WAMC News
4:31 pm
Mon December 30, 2013

MGM Submits Final Massachusetts Casino Application

Originally published on Mon December 30, 2013 4:26 pm

Casino developers in Massachusetts face a Tuesday deadline to submit final applications to state regulators

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Technology
3:17 pm
Mon December 30, 2013

5 New Year's Resolutions From Women To Watch

Maya Penn
Marla Aufmuth TED

New Year's resolutions: Sometimes we make them; usually we break them. The annual goals are intended to bring out the best in us — but what if you're already extremely accomplished?

These five women have worked hard to help others, through businesses, innovation and writing. Four of them were speakers at the TEDWomen conference earlier in December in San Francisco (Katrina Alcorn was an attendee).

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More Than Song And Dance
5:08 am
Mon December 30, 2013

Fifty Years of Musical Theater: Good Times at the Goodspeed in East Haddam

Michael Price, Goodspeed's executive director, made business changes in 2006 that helped the theater through the economic downturn.
Sujata Srinivasan

As I drove across the East Haddam swing bridge, car tires rumbling over the open grate, it was hard to imagine that the 19th-century Goodspeed Opera House – looking like a wedding cake on the Connecticut River – was anything but a place for musical theater. Yet in addition to being a performance space, it served as a passenger terminal for a steamboat line. It was the town’s general store, post office, dentist’s office, and even a parking garage.

Thanks to a series of very fortunate events, Goodspeed's restoration in 1963, after a period of neglect, was followed by 19 productions that went on to Broadway, receiving more than a dozen Tony awards. In 2006, another fortunate event – a set of strategic business decisions – saved the Goodspeed yet again. 

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Data Breach
12:59 pm
Fri December 27, 2013

Target: Encrypted Data Were Taken, But Not The Key To Unlock

The scene outside a Target store in Brooklyn on Black Friday, Nov. 29.
Eric Thayer Reuters /Landov

Though hackers did obtain "strongly encrypted PIN data" when they got into Target's information systems, the retailer said Friday that sensitive information from customers' debit cards should not be at risk.

Target posted this explanation:

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Air Travel
10:25 am
Fri December 27, 2013

The Price Is Wrong And You Know It: Do You Buy That Ticket?

Delta made a mistake, but says it will stand by some cut-rate fares.
Justin Sullivan Getty Images

Originally published on Fri December 27, 2013 11:10 am

Headlines such as this come along every few months:

"Delta To Honor Extremely Cheap Mistake Fares."

The news, says The Associated Press, is that:

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New Industry
8:12 am
Fri December 27, 2013

Medical Marijuana: How Two Connecticut Towns Are Preparing for Licenses

The space in the Remington Rand Building in Middletown, where Greenbelt Management hopes to develop a medical marijuana production facility.
Credit Greenbelt Management

In January, the state's Department of Consumer Protection will begin awarding the first ever licenses to medical marijuana producers and dispensers in Connecticut. While the licenses are awarded by the state, it's been left up to individual towns to decide if they want to host one of these facilities. Two communities in Connecticut have taken very different approaches to this new industry.

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Economy
4:33 pm
Thu December 26, 2013

Manufacturing 2.0: Old Industry Creating New High-Tech Jobs

Unlike the smoky, eardrum-damaging factories of yesterday, today's manufacturing is going high-tech. That can mean more robots and automated machines than workers. But companies like Machine Inc. in Stoughton, Mass., are still growing and hiring.
Chris Arnold NPR

Originally published on Thu December 26, 2013 6:07 pm

As the U.S. economy continues to recover, it has been getting some help from an unexpected place. After decades of massive job losses, manufacturing firms have been steadily creating jobs — many of them well-paying. One particularly bright spot is a new generation of high-tech manufacturers.

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Housing Market
3:26 pm
Thu December 26, 2013

Housing Gains Uncertain in 2014

Credit Fuse / Thinkstock

The housing market made strong gains in 2013, but there's a lot of uncertainty about what might happen in 2014.  

Housing prices in Connecticut rose ten percent in 2013, the strongest year since the financial crash, giving an improvement of $25,000 on the median price of a single family home. 

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Economy
9:54 am
Thu December 26, 2013

Jobless Claims Fell Sharply Last Week

A "help wanted" sign earlier this year in the window of a clothing store in Pasadena, Calif.
Kevork Djansezian Getty Images

Just as last week's figures may been distorted by temporary factors related to the holiday season that made things look worse than they really are, the word Thursday that there's been a sharp drop in claims for unemployment insurance needs to be accompanied by the same sort of caveat.

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Where We Live
9:00 am
Thu December 26, 2013

What Do You Mean, Coding?

Code education is being pushed by politicians, CEOs and basketball stars alike.
Credit Ben Simo / Creative Commons

Our schools teach a variety of foreign languages: Spanish, French, even Latin. But should we be focusing on the language of computer programming? Even NBA star Chris Bosh is asking everyone from young kids to the homeless to learn to code. Why aren’t we teaching it more? It seems like President Obama needs an army of coders to fix the glitchy HealthCare.gov website.

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Delayed Deliveries
8:04 am
Thu December 26, 2013

Apologies, Promises From UPS And FedEx About Delivery Delays

UPS delivery man Vinny Ambrosino was dressed for the holiday season on Tuesday as he delivered packages in New York City. Not all the things ordered for Christmas got to their destinations on time.
Carlo Allegri Reuters/Landov

Originally published on Thu December 26, 2013 8:28 pm

Update at 8:20 p.m. ET. Amazon, UPS, Offer Refunds:

The Washington Post reports:

"Amazon and UPS said Thursday they would offer refunds to customers who did not receive their Christmas orders on time, after a surge in last-minute online shopping caught the shipping giant off guard."

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Where We Live
9:00 am
Tue December 24, 2013

Malls Are Dying, Long Live the Mall!

Will you end up in a mall on Black Friday?
Credit jpellgen / Flickr Creative Commons

Thanksgiving is this week and as the holiday shopping season comes upon us, we’ll look at one of the iconic American institutions: the shopping mall. We’ll talk with a writer at The Atlantic Cities who says that despite how engrained it is in our culture, the mall is preparing to retire. We'll also hear a class piece from radio producer Jonathan Mitchell. He produced a soundscape of his hometown mall called "City X."

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Abilities, Not Disabilities
7:00 pm
Mon December 23, 2013

East Hartford-Based Moonshiners Implement Inclusive Hiring Practices

Members of MARC Inc., a not-for-profit in Manchester, work at Onyx along with their job coach.
Sujata Srinivasan

I’m with production manager Eryka Wright on the shop floor of East Hartford-based Onyx Spirits Co. LLC, which makes handcrafted Prohibition-era moonshine. While some workers carry boxes, Wright and one of her employees are doing the chicken dance. "We do random dance outbreaks to keep the blood flowing and keep the energy high," she said.

Wright supervises employees with developmental disabilities. They're trained by MARC Inc., a state-funded, Manchester-based not-for-profit chapter of ARC, a national advocacy group for people with disabilities such as autism, Down's syndrome, and fragile X. The organization places workers at companies across Connecticut, including Bob’s Discount Furniture, Gerber Scientific, and McDonald’s franchises. 

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Targeted
1:21 pm
Mon December 23, 2013

Customers Sue Target Over Credit Card Breach

A couple of shoppers leave a Target store on a rainy afternoon in Alhambra, California.
Frederic J. Brown AFP/Getty Images

At least 11 customers have filed lawsuits against Target over a security breach that exposed the credit card information of 40 million customers.

The BBC reports:

"The lawsuits, each seeking class-action status, have been filed in US courts in the past several days.

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Job Market
8:07 am
Mon December 23, 2013

Report: Falling Jobless Rate Reflects Discouraged, Departing Labor Force

Fred Carstensen, director of the Connecticut Center for Economic Analysis, said the falling unemployment rate reflects people giving up on looking for work.
Credit Chion Wolf / WNPR

Connecticut saw some encouraging employment statistics in the second half of the year. But some economists are urging a closer look.

The figures released last week showed gains of about 4,000 jobs in November, and the unemployment rate falling to 7.6 percent, seven-tenths of a point lower than a year ago. But the latest forecast from the Connecticut Center for Economic Analysis shows that the figures are only superficially encouraging. 

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Retail
6:30 am
Mon December 23, 2013

After Target's Data Breach, Customer Incentive Disappoints

Justin Sullivan Getty Images

Originally published on Mon December 23, 2013 9:06 am

Target is trying to get back in its customers' good graces after a massive data breach affecting some 40 million credit and debit account holders. The giant retail chain offered its customers a 10 percent discount over the weekend as an act of atonement, but business was said to be down anyway.

The breach affected customers who used their credit and debit cards at one of Target's 1,750 stores during a three-week period after Thanksgiving.

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Cost of Health Care
10:14 am
Fri December 20, 2013

Connecticut Works to Develop a Plan for the Future of Health Care

Credit Gubcio / iStock / Thinkstock

At the end of this month, Connecticut will submit a plan for a radical change in the way health care is delivered in the state. Connecticut is one of 16 states bidding for a $45 million federal grant to develop a model for the future of health care. 

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Mapping Uncertainty
10:10 am
Fri December 20, 2013

Study: Federal Budget Battles Cost Connecticut 20,000 Jobs

Businesses don't like uncertainty, but between recessions and government budget standoffs, they've had to get used to it in recent years. A new study from UConn looks at just how much the economy has been affected by sustained crisis management.

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Casinos
8:31 am
Fri December 20, 2013

Mass. Gaming Commission Approves Mohegan Sun Waiver Request

An artist's rendering of Mohegan Sun's proposed resort casino on Suffolk Downs race track property in Revere, MA

Originally published on Thu December 19, 2013 4:41 pm

The Massachusetts  Gaming Commission has formally approved a waiver to allow Mohegan Sun to go forward with a casino project in eastern Massachusetts

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Retail
7:05 am
Fri December 20, 2013

Shop On The Web Or In The Store; Each Has Risks

A customer prepares to sign a credit card slip Thursday at a Target store in Miami. The giant retailer says 40 million payment cards nationwide may have been compromised by data theft.
Joe Raedle Getty Images

Originally published on Fri December 20, 2013 8:37 am

Back in ye olden days — say, a decade ago — many holiday shoppers worried about using credit cards to buy gifts online. They feared their information would end up in the hands of computer hackers.

Turns out, walking into a store and swiping a credit card can be plenty risky, too.

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Hospital Labor Dispute
5:24 am
Wed December 18, 2013

Lockout Ends at Lawrence and Memorial Hospital

There's been a continuous picket outside the hospital's New London campus during the strike and the subsequent lockout.
Credit Harriet Jones

Nurses and technicians go back to work Thursday at Lawrence and Memorial Hospital in New London, after the hospital lifted its lockout order.

The move comes after a stand off of more than two weeks. Staff were locked out over the Thanksgiving weekend following a four-day strike.

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Telecommunications
11:15 pm
Tue December 17, 2013

Frontier to Buy AT&T's Landline Business

Credit Ciaran Griffin/Stockbyte / Thinkstock

Stamford-based Frontier Communications announced plans to buy the landline service of AT&T in Connecticut. About 1.4 million households in Connecticut will be affected by the sale of the business, which includes Internet subscribers and U-verse video customers. 

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Green Rush
11:53 am
Mon December 16, 2013

Vendors Prepare for Connecticut's Medical Marijuana Market

Kyle Orce of Fresh Solutions in Waterbury is a Northeast distributor for a portable humidifier designed to keep pills and marijuana in a moisture-controlled environment.
Sujata Srinivasan

The state Department of Consumer Protection is expected to award licenses by early 2014 to producers and dispensaries for the newly legalized medical marijuana market. In a ripple effect, other companies are also gearing up to grow market share in a new industry, estimated at $1.7 billion nationally by the Wall Street Journal, and predicted to quadruple in size during the next five years. 

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Federal Budget
10:14 am
Mon December 16, 2013

UTC Chief Welcomes Stability in Budget Deal

UTC's headquarters building in Hartford.
Credit Creative Commons

The budget deal reached last week in Washington will have a real economic impact on companies in Connecticut. United Technologies CEO Louis Chenevert welcomed the agreement, saying it gives his defense dependent corporation more ability to plan for the future.

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Fish Imports
2:49 am
Mon December 16, 2013

Battle Of The Bottom Feeder: U.S., Vietnam In Catfish Fight

Freshly caught catfish wriggle in large nets in Doddsville, Miss.
Jackie Northam NPR

Originally published on Mon December 16, 2013 1:17 pm

Bill Battle peers through the window of a pickup truck at his catfish farm, Pride of the Pond, near Tunica, Miss. The land is pancake-flat, broken up by massive ponds, some holding up to 100,000 pounds of catfish.

Cormorants fly low over the ponds, keeping an eye out for whiskered, smooth-skinned fish. Battle keeps a shotgun in the front seat; business is hard enough without the birds cutting into his profit.

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Infrastructure
2:59 pm
Thu December 12, 2013

Connecticut Businesses to State Government: "Fix Our Roads"

Aleksandra Glustsenko / iStock Thinkstock

Business leaders said in a new survey that their top priority for transportation in Connecticut is addressing overcrowded roads.

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Innovation
11:13 am
Thu December 12, 2013

North Haven Company Joins Smart America Challenge

Solar panels on building tops are part of smart grids, which give real-time data about energy usage and are part of the "Internet of Things."
Credit National Institute of Standards and Technology

A Connecticut company was among those at the White House Thursday for a summit about the emerging Internet of Things. 

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Labor
4:51 pm
Tue December 10, 2013

Talks Canceled in Lawrence and Memorial Hospital Dispute

Union negotiators wait at the Olympic Best Western Hotel in Groton.
Credit Harriet Jones

There's been no progress yet towards ending the labor dispute at Lawrence and Memorial Hospital in New London. Talks between unions and management scheduled for today were canceled.

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WAMC News
11:36 am
Tue December 10, 2013

Investigators Find MGM "Suitable" To Bid For Massachusetts Casino License

An artist's rendering of the MGM Resort casino project proposed in downtown Springfield, MA.

Originally published on Mon December 9, 2013 6:17 pm

MGM Resorts International appears to have cleared a key hurdle in the quest to build a resort casino in Springfield, Massachusetts.  The results of a 10-month investigation by Massachusetts gaming industry regulators were released today.

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