Officials' estimates say that in the next twenty years there could be as many as 30,000 drones flying in US airspace. Depending on your point of view, that's either a great technological leap forward, or a very scary prospect. Businesses are similarly divided about our drone future.
According to the government, there are 46.5 million Americans who live below the poverty line. In other words, that's how many people are officially poor. But pretty much everyone who studies poverty agrees: The way we arrive at this figure is completely wrong.
On today's show, we figure out how we got here, why still measure poverty in a way that so many people agree is wrong, and how could we do it better.
This week was Farm-to-Chef week, as the Connecticut Department of Agriculture makes an effort to promote local produce at Connecticut restaurants. The stateâ€™s eateries report they are seeing more demand for locally-grown food.
Have you visited the Quiet Corner lately? In nighttime satellite imagery, it shows up as a swath of darkness in a field of twinkling lights. This rural area is larger than you might think - itâ€™s about half the size of Arizonaâ€™s Grand Canyon, and about ten times the size of Acadia National Park in Maine. And itâ€™s almost 80 percent forest and farmland.
Economists at the University of Connecticut are calling on the state to use bonds that have been approved by the legislature but never issued. The Connecticut Center for Economic Analysis forecast reports that if the state relies only on traditional drivers like the housing market to grow the economy, it could begin to lose jobs again in 2014.
The president of Electric Boat, Kevin Poitras, has announced his retirement, just over a year after taking the reins at the Groton submarine yard. He'll be succeeded in the top job by Jeffrey Geiger, who's currently president of the Bath Iron Works in Maine.Â The two yards are both owned by General Dynamics.
Poitras garnered praise for his tenure at Electric Boat, where he's worked since the early 1970s. Second district Congressman Joe Courtney noted particularly his relationships with local colleges to develop training and mentoring opportunities.
In the spring, the city of Hartford launched the iConnect program, meant to fill vacant storefronts with new businesses. It's an idea that's been tried - with some success - in cities like New Haven, but Hartford's "Pop-up Storefront" has taken months longer than expected.
Customers who had money in The Community's Bank in Bridgeport should receive their insured deposits back this week after the bank failed and was put into receivership. It's the first bank failure in Connecticut in more than a decade.
Originally published on Tue September 17, 2013 12:43 pm
There's news this week that shipbuilder STX Finland will close what it describes as "the world's leading ferry builder," a yard where the company also built small cruise ships, icebreakers and naval craft.
The company blamed economic conditions for the closure of the Rauma Shipyard. Work from there will be shifted to the company's facility in Turku. About 700 people will lose their jobs.
When critics of industrial agriculture complain that today's food production is too big and too dependent on pesticides, that it damages the environment and delivers mediocre food, there's a line that farmers offer in response: We're feeding the world.
It's high-tech agriculture's claim to the moral high ground. Farmers say they farm the way they do to produce food as efficiently as possible to feed the world.
With U.S. economic growth inching upward, the Federal Reserveâ€™s announcement in May that it might taper off quantitative easing â€“ initiated to boost domestic growth â€“ is sending emerging economies into a tailspin. Global economies are so inter-connected with the U.S. through trade and investment channels that the currencies of Brazil, Indonesia, South Africa and Mexico all fell. But the Indian currency was especially sensitive, falling to its lowest in 20 years.
Yaleâ€™s School of Management wants the nationâ€™s regulators to learn the lessons of the financial crisis, and theyâ€™re designing a new program to help them do it. When Wall Street hit the skids in 2008, it was Main Street that largely paid the price. Andrew Metrick, professor of finance at the Yale School of Management, says one reason is that regulators werenâ€™t looking in all the right places in the years before the crash.
Connecticut is celebrating its maritime heritage this weekend with the Schooner Festival in New London. The brand-new event hopes to attract thousands of people from around the region, and provide a showcase for local companies.
The Fishers Island Ferry prepares to sail from its terminal in New London. She'll have some company today, as 20 schooners, sturdy, sleek and fast sailing vessels with a long history in Connecticut, arrive in the Thames River.
The executive director of Amistad America Inc., a New Haven-based non-profit, asserts that all money it has received from the state has been used appropriately.Â Amistad America owns and operates the Freedom Schooner Amistad, and recently lost its non-profit status after falling behind in filing federal tax returns.
Economist Tyler Cowen has some advice for what to do about America's income inequality: Get used to it. In his latest book, Average Is Over, Cowen lays out his prediction for where the U.S. economy is heading, like it or not:
"I think we'll see a thinning out of the middle class," he tells NPR's Steve Inskeep. "We'll see a lot of individuals rising up to much greater wealth. And we'll also see more individuals clustering in a kind of lower-middle class existence."
Originally published on Wed September 11, 2013 5:15 pm
When the global financial system started to collapse five years ago, leaders from the Treasury Department, Congress and the Federal Reserve jumped up and started running.
Like men on a burning wooden bridge, they raced along, making crazy-fast decisions. They seized Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, bailed out big banks, saved automakers, slashed interest rates and funded a massive infrastructure-building project to stimulate growth.
Â Â Itâ€™s been just over a year since Connecticut began to create an ecosystem for entrepreneurs. Dubbed CT Next, the system has launched four hubs, hosted many events, signed up hundreds of nascent companies and spent almost five million dollars. But as it goes into its second year it has changed direction and some are left wondering if enough has been achieved.
Angel investors pump a lot of cash into start-up businesses in this country - by some accounts about $23 billion a year. But some say they'll back off from looking for new opportunities if the Securities and Exchange Commission implements new rules on funding -- rules that are due to go into effect September 10. The irony is that the rules were supposed to make it easier for start-ups to find seed money.
It's tough to know how many workers from Dunkin Donuts, Subway, McDonalds and other fast food outlets in Hartford walked off the job Thursday. But organizers of the one-day strike say they're happy the city has joined what's becoming a national movement.
Hartford's Downtown gained another dining option this week, and one that's been a long time coming. For the two institutions behind it, fresh food and good coffee are just the starters. WNPR's J Holt has more.
When the Downtown branch of the Hartford Public Library underwent a major renovation in the early two thousands, a three story tall, glass walled atrium space was built right up front, with the intention of it becoming a cafe.
In an ongoing effort to create growth for mom and pop businesses in the state, the U.S. Small Business Administration is making capital available to Connecticut Economic Development Fund, a non-profit offering micro-loans. WNPRâ€™s Sujata Srinivasan has more.
James Dufour owns Connecticut Carpentry in Meriden. He makes cabinets for hospitals and employs seven people. Up until the start of the financial crisis, the nearly 30-year-old business had little trouble accessing bank loans.Â
Connecticut-based ESPNÂ has suspended its TV broadcasts in most of Europe, the Middle East and Africa, and US sports fans living abroad say theyâ€™re having a tough time adjusting to the change.
Peter Alegi says Americans overseas love to argue about 2 things: US politics and US sports. Alegi â€“ a self-described baseball nut - is a New Haven native who has lived for decades in Italy. Â Speaking from the town of Todi, Italy, he says ex-pats will sorely miss TV broadcasts of major league baseball, the NBA and NFL. Â
Whatâ€™s up with Patch? That question seems to be on the lips of many small business owners who rely on the hyperlocal news sites to get the word out about sales, events and promotions. As Patchâ€™s corporate parent AOL threatens closures and consolidations, some are wondering if it will ever be the same again.Â
With law school grads facing a tough job market, some entrepreneurial attorneys are trying out hybrid businesses. One Connecticut attorney has opened a shop that combinesÂ his passion for the law with his skill as a barber.
Donald Howard says he first got the hybrid-business idea working as a paralegal for a personal injury attorney who doubled as a sports agent. Then he saw the concept again on a reality television show.
"It was a guy in California who did Legal Grind, a coffee house and a law office."
Connecticut is known for its aerospace industry, and it also has some pretty nice farming country. The two might not seem to have a lot in common, but new study hopes to use waste from one to power the other.Â
It's a common story for a personal passion to lead to a business opportunity. For one Connecticut entrepreneur it was the convergence of two passions -- baseball and art -- that launched her on the road to success.Â
"Well, I grew up listening to the Red Sox on the radio, and on the only station that we had on our TV, you know, back in the Seventies. And my dad was a baseball coach and an umpire, so we just grew up with the Red Sox as sort of part of the family."