Business

Internet Slowdown Day
7:03 am
Wed September 10, 2014

Your Favorite Sites Will 'Slow Down' Today, For A Cause

Slow-loading messages will appear on some of your favorite sites Wednesday as part of a protest for net neutrality. But the sites won't actually be loading slower — the banners will be displayed just to make a point.
iStockphoto

Originally published on Tue September 16, 2014 10:41 am

You'll find spinning wheels at the top of Netflix, Etsy, Foursquare and other top sites today, as they take part in Internet Slowdown Day. While sites won't slow down for real, participating Internet companies will be covered with the symbolic loading icons "to remind everyone what an Internet without net neutrality would look like," the organizers write on their website.

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Retail
3:22 am
Wed September 10, 2014

Here's What's Becoming Of America's Dead Shopping Malls

New transit-oriented, mixed-use walkable downtowns, like this one in Rockville, Md., are often replacing indoor shopping malls and strip malls that once defined suburban America.
Federal Realty Investment Trust Courtesy of WDG Architecture

Originally published on Wed September 10, 2014 10:56 am

Chances are your local mall is hurting. There are roughly 1,200 enclosed malls in the U.S. and only about a third of them are doing well.

Online shopping, the recession and demographic shifts are some of the factors killing shopping malls. And as these changes leave behind huge concrete carcasses, they're being "reimagined" into everything from medical centers to hockey rinks.

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Energy Grid
3:21 am
Wed September 10, 2014

New York Says It's Time To Flip The Switch On Its Power Grid

A worker repairs electrical lines in Plainview, N.Y., after Superstorm Sandy in 2012. A proposed plan to overhaul the state's power grid could help the system better withstand severe weather and enable energy to be stored and managed more efficiently.
Bruce Bennett Getty Images

Originally published on Wed September 10, 2014 11:18 am

In the power business, it's all about managing the peaks.

During the hottest days of summer, electric utilities run at full capacity to keep giant cities comfortably cool. But most of the rest of the year, half that capacity goes unused — and that's highly inefficient.

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WAMC News
6:19 pm
Tue September 9, 2014

Developers Pitch Upstate NY Casino Projects

Originally published on Tue September 9, 2014 12:35 pm

On Monday, the four Capital Region casino applicants appeared in Albany to present their proposals to the New York State Gaming Facility Location Board.

With gamblers seemingly preferring to visit smaller casinos closer to home, the presentations four developers delivered before the New York State Gaming Commission’s location siting board offered practical mid-size packages.    "We are committed to developing the best site there is in a way that best serves this community, its citizens and its economic goals"

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Technology
2:40 pm
Tue September 9, 2014

Apple Shows Off Larger iPhone 6; Unveils New Apple Watch

Apple CEO Tim Cook announces the Apple Watch Tuesday in Cupertino, Calif. Apple unveiled the long-awaited smart watch, which comes in two sizes and requires an iPhone.
Justin Sullivan Getty Images

Originally published on Tue September 9, 2014 4:03 pm

After months of rumors and dozens of fan-created images of what an Apple watch might look like, today the tech giant will show us what it's been working on. Apple CEO Tim Cook unveiled a new smart watch at a splashy event in Cupertino, Calif., called the Apple Watch

We'll be updating this post with news from Apple today, including tweets from NPR's Laura Sydell, who's at the event at the Flint Center.

Update at 2:40 p.m. ET: Apple Watch Price: $349

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Technology
7:52 am
Tue September 9, 2014

Size Matters: Why Apple Is Expected To Unveil A Bigger iPhone

The Samsung Galaxy Mega (from left), Samsung Galaxy S4 and Apple iPhone 5 are shown. Apple is expected to announce larger models of its smartphone on Tuesday.
Richard Drew AP

Originally published on Tue September 9, 2014 11:04 am

You may have noticed that after years of getting smaller, smartphones are getting bigger. It's a trend that's mostly been led by Samsung. Apple's late CEO, Steve Jobs, famously knocked the idea that people wanted larger phones. But on Tuesday, Apple is expected to announce bigger iPhones and is relenting to the reality that we're talking less on our phones and using them more like a mini computer.

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Technology
2:28 pm
Mon September 8, 2014

Try This On For Size: Personal Styling That Comes In The Mail

A standard "trunk" from men's online styling service Trunk Club.
Colin Marshall NPR

Originally published on Tue September 9, 2014 11:43 am

These days, you don't have to be a model — or a real housewife of reality TV — to have a personal stylist. You can get one online, for a reasonable monthly fee. The services, in which clothes are picked out for you and sent in the mail, are catching on among the time-starved and the fashion-challenged. Like my editor, Uri Berliner.

"Most days I couldn't even tell you what clothes I have on, what color they are," he says.

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Casinos
2:17 pm
Mon September 8, 2014

Decision Time For Casino Panel: Mohegan Sun Or Wynn?

Originally published on Mon September 8, 2014 10:03 am

The Massachusetts Gaming Commission has a lot to consider when it begins hearings Monday on the two competing proposals for the sole Greater Boston casino license.

At first glance, the two look very similar. Both promise about 4,000 jobs, 500 hotel rooms and about $1 billion in casino revenue.

But as you dig into the plans, you start to see distinct selling points for each proposal, and how the developers, Mohegan Sun and Wynn Resorts, are making their case.

Mohegan Sun Seeks To Fit Into Community

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Demonstrations
10:29 am
Fri September 5, 2014

Across The Country, Fast-Food Workers Rally For $15-An-Hour Pay

Protesters demonstrate outside a McDonald's in Chicago. Hundreds of workers from McDonald's, Taco Bell, Wendy's and other fast-food chains were expected to walk off their jobs Thursday to push the companies to pay their employees at least $15 an hour, according to labor organizers.
M. Spencer Green AP

Originally published on Fri September 5, 2014 10:58 am

Fast-food workers in cities across the country, from Los Angeles to Chicago to Hartford, Conn., rallied for higher wages during a day of demonstrations Thursday.

Union organizers, backed by the Service Employees International Union, are building a campaign for $15-an-hour pay.

At the corner of 87th Street and South Wabash in Chicago, an intersection that has a McDonald's on one corner and a Burger King on the other, workers chanted "$15 an hour" or sang "We Shall Not be Moved" as they blocked traffic.

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Labor
6:28 am
Fri September 5, 2014

In Market Basket's Win, Did Workers Change The Game?

Market Basket meat manager Bob Dietz of Methuen, Mass., (center) and other workers celebrate after watching a televised speech last month by restored Market Basket CEO Arthur T. Demoulas at a store in Chelsea.
Steven Senne AP

Originally published on Fri September 5, 2014 10:58 am

Labor unions are looking for lessons in the recent worker victory at New England supermarket chain Market Basket. By using Internet technology to rapidly coalesce around a single demand, nonunion workers forced a sale of the company to their beloved CEO.

"I've never seen anything like it, that's for sure. And they prevailed, which is even stranger. They took on this and forced these people to sell their shares to this one guy," says Dennis Irvin with United Steelworkers Local 12012. "It's amazing, totally amazing!"

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Civil Disobedience
12:30 pm
Thu September 4, 2014

Fast Food Workers Strike; 13 Arrested in Hartford

A protester is arrested in Hartford on Washington Street.
Harriet Jones WNPR

Workers from Hartford and New Haven area major fast food restaurants went on strike Thursday as part of a national effort to gain attention for workers' rights. In Hartford on Washington Street, protests partially blocked traffic, and several protesters were arrested.

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Where We Live
9:00 am
Thu September 4, 2014

Connecticut's Slow Housing Recovery

Deb Chamberlain.
Chion Wolf WNPR

It’s been years since the housing market crashed. But in that time, increased job insecurity and the rising cost of living have left many questioning whether the American dream of homeownership is still a practical one, especially for the nation’s low- and middle-wage earners.

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Casino Trends
10:24 am
Tue September 2, 2014

After Just Two Years, Huge Atlantic City Casino Shuts Down

A woman gathers shells along the ocean near the Revel Casino Hotel in Atlantic City, N.J., early Tuesday. The casino resort has closed, a little over two years after opening with the promise of helping to renew Atlantic City.
Mel Evans AP

Originally published on Tue September 2, 2014 12:24 pm

After operating for only two years, the Revel Casino Hotel has closed down, part of a trend that will reportedly shutter a third of Atlantic City's big gambling halls by the end of September. It cost $2.4 billion to build the Revel facility.

"It's a tragedy," massage therapist Lori Bacum, who worked at the resort's spa, tells NJ.com. "There were some warnings, but none of us thought it would happen. We felt so safe, because this was the place that was going to take (the city) to a new level."

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Food Industry
6:48 am
Sat August 30, 2014

Can Oxfam Nudge Big Food Companies To Do Right?

A campaign called Behind The Brands, led by Oxfam International, is trying to make the inner workings of the 10 biggest food companies in the world more visible to consumers.
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Fri September 5, 2014 3:02 pm

It's not always easy to connect the dots between the food we consume and the people who grow it, or the impact of growing and processing that food on the health of our planet.

But a campaign called Behind the Brands, led by Oxfam International, an advocacy organization dedicated to fighting poverty, is trying to make the inner workings of the 10 biggest food companies in the world more visible.

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Retail
3:29 pm
Fri August 29, 2014

Holiday Gas Prices Lowest In Four Years

A graphic produced by Gasbuddy.com shows regional variation of gas prices.
GasBuddy.com via USEIA

Originally published on Fri August 29, 2014 4:52 pm

Some good news heading into the long weekend: Labor Day gas prices are at their lowest level in four years.

The U.S. Energy Information Administration says the nationwide average for retail regular was $3.45 per gallon on Aug. 25 — that's the lowest average price for a Monday ahead of Labor Day since 2010, and it's about $0.25 per gallon less than at the end of June this year. The current price is down from the record average of $3.83 for the 2012 holiday.

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Grocery Stores
11:22 am
Fri August 29, 2014

Arthur T. Demoulas Reinstated As CEO Of Market Basket

Market Basket employee Melbi Peraza, of Chelsea, restocks frozen shrimp at a Market Basket location in Chelsea Thursday. (Steven Senne/AP)

Originally published on Thu August 28, 2014 2:19 pm

Workers spent much of Thursday loading up delivery trucks and getting food back into 71 New England Market Basket stores, following the remarkable conclusion of one of the most amazing stories in American business history.

In short, Arthur T. Demoulas is back in. More than six weeks after he was ousted as CEO by the Market Basket board, Wednesday night, company shareholders approved a deal in which Demoulas purchased a controlling stake in the company and returned as CEO.

Which meant that Thursday, many of the company’s 25,000 workers were also back on the job.

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Casino Diversification
9:38 am
Fri August 29, 2014

Foxwoods Bets on Retail

The concourse now has floor-to-ceiling glass facades
Harriet Jones WNPR

Foxwoods unveils its newly revamped retail concourse on Friday, the first of two big retail projects the gaming giant has in progress.

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Where We Live
9:00 am
Fri August 29, 2014

Connecticut Work Life: Past, Present, and Future

American Woolen, Stafford Springs.
American Woolen Company

In 1894, a new national holiday was created -- a day when American workers could retreat from harsh work conditions and long hours to spend some time with family and friends. The holiday was called Labor Day.

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Working Hours
12:42 pm
Thu August 28, 2014

Who's In The Office? The American Workday In One Graph

Jason DeCrow AP

Originally published on Wed August 27, 2014 11:36 am

Researchers often look at the number of hours worked, but rarely do they ask the question of when. Fortunately, the government conducts an annual study called the American Time Use Survey that tracks how people spend their days.

The interactive graph below shows the share of workers who say they're working in a given hour, grouped by occupation. Play with the different job categories to see how the average workdays differ from one another.

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Security Breach
10:34 am
Thu August 28, 2014

Russian Hackers Reportedly Hit JPMorgan, Other Banks

JPMorgan Chase & Co. headquarters in New York. The bank is one of several reportedly targeted by Russian hackers.
Seth Wenig AP

Originally published on Thu August 28, 2014 11:21 am

The FBI says it's working with the Secret Service to investigate reports that Russian hackers breached security at JPMorgan Chase and other financial institutions, stealing customers' account information in possible retaliation for U.S. government sanctions on Moscow.

"We are working with the United States Secret Service to determine the scope of recently reported cyberattacks against several American financial institutions," FBI spokesman Joshua Campbell said in a statement late Wednesday.

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Planet Money
8:44 am
Thu August 28, 2014

A Mall With Two Minimum Wages

Wetzel's Pretzels employee Emperatriz Orozco hands out free samples at the Westfield Valley Fair Mall.
Steve Henn NPR

Originally published on Thu August 28, 2014 7:20 am

The Westfield Valley Fair Mall straddles two cities. One side of the mall is in Santa Clara, but walk a few feet down the mall, and you're in San Jose. In 2012, San Jose voters agreed to raise the city's minimum wage from $8 to $10 an hour.

Philip Sandigo manages a shoe store on the $8-an-hour side. When San Jose raised the minimum wage, he lost about half his staff.

They went to the stores on the side of the mall that paid $2 an hour more.

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Healthy Workplace
1:23 pm
Wed August 27, 2014

Work-Related Illnesses Fall in Connecticut

Credit Fuse / Thinkstock

The number of workers sickened on the job in Connecticut has declined slightly, according to a new study by UConn. Occupational illnesses in the state, however, remain more prevalent than the national average. 

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Fast Food
9:25 am
Tue August 26, 2014

Burger King To Buy Canada's Tim Hortons For $11 Billion

A pedestrian walks past a Burger King restaurant near downtown Los Angeles.
Nick Ut AP

Originally published on Tue August 26, 2014 9:05 am

In a deal that would create the third-largest fast-food chain, Burger King announced on Tuesday that it intended to buy Canada's Tim Hortons for about $11 billion.

The deal, reports Bloomberg, also moves the company's headquarters to Canada. Bloomberg explains:

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Western Massachusetts
12:47 pm
Fri August 22, 2014

Berkshire Performance Venues Report Successful Summers

The cast of "A Midsummer NIght's Dream" at Pittsfield's Shakespeare in the Park.

Originally published on Fri August 22, 2014 12:38 pm

As the days of August tick away, many Berkshires performance venues are closing the curtains on their summer sessions.

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Inc. 500
7:47 am
Fri August 22, 2014

Connecticut Companies Make "Fastest-Growing" List

Credit Inc. Magazine

Three Connecticut companies are among the 500 fastest growing businesses in the nation. That’s according to the latest ranking by Inc. magazine. 

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Vermont
12:02 pm
Thu August 21, 2014

Legendary Vermont Bakers May Stop Selling Beloved Sourdough Bread

Rabin bread on a rock at the farmers market in Plainfield prior to setting up the table.
Jon Kalish for NPR

Originally published on Tue August 26, 2014 5:26 pm

When Jules Rabin lost his job teaching anthropology in 1977, he and his wife, Helen, turned to baking to keep their family afloat. For 37 years they've baked sourdough bread that people in central Vermont can't seem to live without.

The year before Jules left Goddard College, he and Helen built a replica of a 19th century peasant oven, hauling 70 tons of fieldstone from nearby fields. The stones covered an igloo-shaped brick baking chamber 5 1/2 feet in diameter.

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Regional Casinos
8:32 am
Thu August 21, 2014

A Crowded Field Will Squeeze Profits At New England Casinos

Originally published on Tue August 19, 2014 10:43 am

The rising number of casinos in New England that’s hurting the Foxwoods Resort Casino is both a threat to table games in Rhode Island and the reason to add more.

Analyst Clyde Barrow said the Foxwoods Resort and Casino in Connecticut has been losing millions of dollars since its peak in 2006. To blame: a slow economic recovery and a growing number of casinos in New England.

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Business
1:54 am
Wed August 20, 2014

Ex-Microsoft CEO Ballmer Steps Down From Company's Board

Steve Ballmer, the new owner of the Los Angeles Clippers, is stepping down from Microsoft's board. Ballmer, who recently resigned as Microsoft's CEO, is the largest individual shareholder of the company.
Justin Sullivan Getty Images

Originally published on Wed August 20, 2014 11:52 am

Former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer, 58, has resigned from the company's board citing other time consuming commitments including his new ownership of the Los Angeles Clippers.

Tuesday's announcement closes a chapter in Ballmer's 34 years with the software giant. He remains the largest individual shareholder in the company.

Ballmer spent $2 billion of his roughly $20 billion fortune on the Clippers purchase, which a judge confirmed last week.

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Job Statistics
2:09 pm
Mon August 18, 2014

Connecticut Recovery Shows Mixed Fortunes

David Lewis, president and CEO of Operations Inc.
Credit CBIA

Recent jobs numbers from the Connecticut Department of Labor showed some areas of the state recovering much better than others.

Late last week, the state released figures for July job gains, the sixth straight month in which Connecticut employers have been hiring. The state overall gained a net 2,400 jobs in the month.

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Bilingual Tax Help
10:44 am
Mon August 18, 2014

Revenue Services Reaches Out to Hispanic Businesses in Connecticut

Park Street in Hartford is home to many Hispanic-run businesses.
Tucker Ives WNPR

The state of Connecticut is trying to make it easier for Spanish-speaking business owners to pay their taxes. The Department of Revenue Services has produced a Spanish language video on electronic filing.

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