Business

Confirmation Hearing
9:04 am
Thu January 29, 2015

Loretta Lynch Pledges Tough Enforcement on White Collar Crime

Nominee for attorney general, Loretta Lynch, was questioned during a confirmation hearing about her stance on white collar crime.
Douglas Plamer/Flickr

Although the headlines focused on immigration and marijuana, President Obama’s nominee for attorney general has also pledged to get tough on white collar crime, and corporate malfeasance. 

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Pennsylvania
4:14 am
Thu January 29, 2015

For Long-Haul Drivers, Cheap Gas Means A Sweeter Commute

Jed Brown drives 100 miles each day to work between Pennsylvania and West Virginia. Cheaper gas is making his commute more manageable, but he doesn't expect the low prices to last.
Uri Berliner NPR

Originally published on Thu January 29, 2015 8:21 am

With wages still stuck for many Americans, the big drop in gasoline prices is the equivalent of an unexpected cash bonus for the nation's drivers.

The average American household is expected to save $750 this year from lower gas prices, according to the Energy Department.

But Thomas Kinnaman, an economist at Bucknell University in Lewisburg, Pa., says it's instructive to look beyond the word "average."

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Business
4:14 am
Thu January 29, 2015

And So We Meet, Again: Why The Workday Is So Filled With Meetings

PW Illustration Ikon Images/Getty Images

Originally published on Thu January 29, 2015 8:46 am

The ouster of Bryan Stockton from his perch as CEO at Mattel this week came as the toymaker's best-known brands like Barbie stagnate and it loses business to Web-based games.

Stockton himself said last year that Mattel lacked an innovative culture and blamed it in part on something specific: bad meetings. That's a common and persistent corporate ailment.

Scott Ryan-Hart is a cartographer for the Ohio Department of Transportation, where a typical meeting can last more than two hours.

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Waze
3:36 am
Wed January 28, 2015

Officers Ask Map App To Remove Police Tracking

Waze's police reporting tool is one of several features in the app. Users can also share reports of traffic and construction in real time.
Courtesy of Waze

Originally published on Wed January 28, 2015 6:50 pm

Waze, the popular navigation app boasting more than 50 million users worldwide, has a new critic: police officers. Over the past few weeks, law enforcement officials have been urging the app and its owner, Google, to disable a feature that allows users to report when they've spotted a police officer, in real time, for all other Waze users to see.

Sergio Kopelev, a reserve sheriff in Orange County, Calif., is one of the law enforcement officials behind the push to remove Waze's police tracker. He says he first discovered the feature through his family.

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Connecticut Business Briefs
10:04 am
Tue January 27, 2015

Utility Workers Question Repair Strategy

Credit Harriet Jones / WNPR

Widespread power outages haven’t yet hit the state as it continues to weather a massive nor'easter, but utility linemen said the state’s power companies have less capacity to deal with problems than they had four years ago. 

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Ahead of the Storm
8:55 am
Mon January 26, 2015

CL&P to Customers: Prepare to Lose Power

Credit Harriet Jones / WNPR

Emails and calls are some of the ways Connecticut Light and Power has begun reaching out to its customers ahead of the expected massive snowstorm, mindful of criticism over lengthy outages during past storms. 

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Local Brewers
4:40 pm
Fri January 23, 2015

New England Brewing Company Decides to Rename Gandhi-Bot Beer

New England Brewing Co. has announced it will rename it's popular IPA, Ghandi-Bot.
New England Brewing Co.

A Connecticut brewery says it will no longer use the name and likeness of Mohandas Gandhi on one of its beers following complaints that the marketing was offensive.

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Where We Live
9:00 am
Fri January 23, 2015

The Young and Restless in Connecticut

Downtown Hartford on the Connecticut River.
Ricky Aponte Creative Commons

More young people are moving to the heart of cities, according to a report from think tank City Observatory. This includes cities that we usually think of as “economically troubled,” like Buffalo, Cleveland, and, yes, even Hartford. Some of these cities have been losing their overall population, but gaining in their numbers of college graduates in their 20s and 30s.

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Global Metro Monitor
2:10 pm
Thu January 22, 2015

Connecticut Cities Retain Legacy Wealth, But Fail to Grow

Corporate headquarters help to make Hartford the fourth-richest city in the world.
Cliff Creative Commons

Connecticut’s urban areas remain among of the most economically productive areas in the world, even while they struggle to recover from the great recession. In fact a new study from the Brookings Institution pegs Hartford as having the second highest economic output in the country, and the fourth highest in the world.

The Global Metro Monitor takes the economic temperature of 300 major cities around the world. Greater Hartford lies fourth in the world in terms of gross domestic product per capita, a measure of how much economic value is produced compared to the size of a metro area, including corporate profits as well as personal incomes. Only Zurich, Oslo and San Jose rank higher. Bridgeport, whose metro area include Fairfield County, lies eighth.

But another story is told by the most recent data on recovery from 2014. 

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Massachusetts Gaming
10:16 am
Thu January 22, 2015

Mohegans Join Lawsuit Against Massachusetts Regulators

Mohegan Sun's proposed design for its license bid at Suffolk Downs racetrack.
Credit Mohegan Sun

Mohegan Sun is joining a lawsuit against the Massachusetts Gaming Commission after the decision last year to award Greater Boston’s casino license to a rival. 

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Connecticut Business Briefs
1:46 pm
Wed January 21, 2015

WWE Sued By Former Wrestlers Over Concussions

Wrestler Vito LoGrasso.
Credit Facebook

World Wrestling Entertainment is being sued by two of its former wrestlers who claim they suffered repeated concussions during their time with the Stamford company.

Vito LoGrasso and Evan Singleton have filed what they hope will become a class action lawsuit in federal court in Philadelphia. They accuse WWE of "selling violence" and ignoring the harm to their employees, which they say includes brain damage.

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Trans Pacific Partnership
12:28 pm
Wed January 21, 2015

Rep. Rosa DeLauro Urges Caution on Asian Trade Deal

Rep. Rosa DeLauro.
Credit Creative Commons

President Obama courted controversy with his own party in the State of the Union by again calling for a key Asian trade deal to be fast-tracked.

The Trans Pacific Partnership is opposed by some senior Democrats, who believe it will lead to a loss of jobs here. 

Obama is asking to be given the authority to negotiate the deal without congressional oversight. Connecticut’s Third District Representative Rosa DeLauro said that’s not acceptable.

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Connecticut Business Briefs
10:45 am
Tue January 20, 2015

Big Changes Ahead for United Technologies?

New CEO Greg Hayes appears to be putting his stamp on the company
Credit UTC

There’s speculation that the recent changes in personnel at United Technologies could mean the conglomerate is mulling major new acquisitions or other structural changes.

New CEO Greg Hayes is shaking up the C-suite, with the departure of Alain Bellemare, who headed up UTC Propulsion and Aerospace Systems. He won’t be replaced, but the company has elevated another executive, Mike Dumais to head of strategic planning.

Some analysts believe these shifts signal that Hayes is considering a big move, perhaps an acquisition, an inversion move, or a spin-off.

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Business
9:43 am
Sat January 17, 2015

As Cities Push For Their Own Broadband, Cable Firms Say Not So Fast

Provo, Utah, is one of three cities in which Google is rolling out its Google Fiber gigabit Internet and television service.
George Frey Reuters/Landov

Originally published on Tue January 20, 2015 12:07 pm

Americans increasingly see decently fast Internet as more like a functioning sewer line than a luxury.

And a number of cities are trying to get into the Internet provider business, but laws in 19 states hamper those efforts. President Obama announced this week that he wants to lift those restrictions, and supporters of what is known as municipal broadband can't wait.

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Connecticut Business Briefs
1:48 pm
Fri January 16, 2015

Electric Boat Hiring, Warns of Possible Talent Shortage

Electric Boat in Groton, Connecticut.
Electric Boat

Electric Boat issued an upbeat forecast for hiring for 2015, and the sub maker said it will be investing millions in shipyard upgrades in the next few years. 

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Retail
1:09 pm
Fri January 16, 2015

Food Trucks, Share The Lane. Food Bikes Are Merging Into The Business

Charlie Wicker of Trailhead Coffee Roasters makes all of his deliveries within the 6-mile radius of urban Portland, Ore., on one of his custom-built cargo bikes. He can also pull over to brew and serve coffee.
John Lee Courtesy of Trailhead Coffee Roasters

Originally published on Thu January 29, 2015 1:17 pm

When upscale food trucks roared into popularity a few years ago, the folks running them praised their rolling operations as far cheaper and simpler to launch than a bricks-and-mortar restaurant.

Now, entrepreneurs are finding similar advantages in food bikes.

Brewers, chefs, baristas and even farmers are turning to pedal-powered vehicles to bring their goods to consumers — and, sometimes, actually produce them on the street.

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Hospital Jobs
9:29 am
Fri January 16, 2015

Waterbury Hospital Announces Cuts in Wake of Funding Shortfall

Waterbury Hospital CEO Darlene Stromstad.
Credit Waterbury Hospital

Waterbury Hospital announced Thursday that it's cutting positions to deal with a $9 million dollar shortfall in government reimbursements.

Hospital CEO Darlene Stromstad said an estimated 100 full- and part-time workers will be affected by the plan. 

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Black and White
2:57 pm
Thu January 15, 2015

What's Next for the Newspaper Industry?

Tony Casale, 11, selling papers in Hartford, Conn. in March, 1909.
Lewis Hine U.S. National Archive

The Internet has changed almost everything... especially newspapers. For many years, readers were able to access newspaper articles for free online. Stories were reaching more readers, but losing revenue. On WNPR's Where We Live, newspaper reporters and editors discussed the controversial "paywall."

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Where We Live
9:00 am
Thu January 15, 2015

Do Newspapers Need Paywalls to Survive in the Digital Age?

How much would you pay for a digital subscription to your local newspaper?
Jon S Creative Commons

Last month, The Hartford Courant followed the trend of newspapers across the country by implementing a paywall on its website.

We sit down with two editors to explain the change, and to talk more broadly about the status of "print" journalism today. What is working, and what’s not working, as publications grapple with an increasingly digital world?

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Business
6:48 pm
Wed January 14, 2015

Dollar's Rise Is Good News For The U.S., For Now

A pedestrian passes a currency exchange in London Jan. 5. The value of the U.S. dollar has risen about 15 percent against the euro since last summer.
Andy Rain EPA/Landov

Originally published on Wed January 14, 2015 8:17 pm

If you've traveled outside the U.S. recently, or sent your U.S.-made products abroad, you've probably noticed that the dollar is getting stronger. The stronger dollar is the sign of a healthier U.S. economy, but its strength has the potential to erode growth.

There are a number of factors behind the dollar's rise, says economist Jens Nordvig, a currency expert at Nomura Securities. The main one is the health of the U.S. economy.

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Municipal Internet
5:16 pm
Wed January 14, 2015

Broadband A 'Necessity,' Obama Says, As He Pushes FCC To Expand Access

President Obama speaks at Cedar Falls Utilities in Cedar Falls, Iowa, on Wednesday. He encouraged the Federal Communications Commission to pre-empt state laws that stifle competition for high-speed Internet service.
Charlie Neibergall AP

Originally published on Wed January 14, 2015 4:58 pm

Updated at 4:48 p.m. ET

President Obama is expected to lay out plans today intended to make it easier for cities, towns and rural communities to offer their citizens fast and cheap broadband Internet.

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Price of Crude
3:20 pm
Tue January 13, 2015

OPEC Members Feeling The Pain Of Falling Oil Prices

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro is welcomed by Saudi Crown Prince Salman in Riyadh on Sunday. The meeting was part of Maduro's diplomatic tour of OPEC members to discuss falling oil prices, which have hit Venezuela's economy hard.
Reuters /Landov

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro is trying to persuade his fellow OPEC leaders to reduce oil production as the price of crude continues to slide and hurt the Venezuelan economy, which depends on oil for 95 percent of its export revenue.

Maduro was in Qatar this week, seeking billions to shore up his economy.

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Regulating the Utilities
4:23 pm
Mon January 12, 2015

Gov. Malloy Rejects Utility Regulators' Concerns Over Independence

Arthur House, chairman of Connecticut utility regulator PURA, during a meeting broadcast by CT-N last year.
Credit CT-N

Governor Dannel Malloy has sharply rebuked his own utility regulators in a dispute over how the agency should be governed.

The commissioners of the Public Utility Regulatory Authority, headed by chairman Arthur House, wrote to Malloy at the end of last month expressing deep dissatisfaction with the decision four years ago to bring PURA under the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection.

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Marketing Controversy
9:54 am
Thu January 8, 2015

Connecticut Brewery Seeks to End Uproar Over Gandhi-Bot

The Woodbridge-based New England Brewing Company's label for Gandhi-Bot.
New England Brewing Co. Facebook

A Connecticut brewery that drew condemnation in the U.S. and India for its beer that carries the name and likeness of Mohandas Gandhi said it's received threats and is seeking a way to end the uproar. 

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Cutting the Cord
2:10 pm
Wed January 7, 2015

ESPN Ventures Onto the Web

ESPN on the web: the cord-cutter's dream?
ESPN

It’s news that might be keeping some cable executives up at night: for the first time, viewers will be able to stream ESPN over the web. 

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Oil Prices
4:23 pm
Mon January 5, 2015

Crude Oil Dips Under $50 A Barrel, A Price Last Seen In 2009

U.S. gasoline prices have fallen sharply since last summer, driven by surging oil production and other factors. The price for a barrel of U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude fell below $50 Monday.
David N. Goodman AP

Originally published on Mon January 5, 2015 6:45 pm

The price for a barrel of U.S. oil benchmark West Texas Intermediate fell below $50 Monday, matching levels seen in the spring of 2009. The drop is linked to both OPEC's boosted production and a stronger dollar.

Oil's latest fall came along with a dip on Wall Street, as the Dow Jones industrial average fell more than 330 points to finish at 17,501 — a drop of 1.86 percent that's also seen as a reaction to new instability in Europe.

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Defense Procurement
2:12 pm
Mon January 5, 2015

Sen. Chris Murphy Pursues Strengthened "Buy American" Legislation

Senator Chris Murphy

Senator Chris Murphy said he believes he can get debate this session on one of his signature issues – making the U.S. government buy American more often.

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Technology
3:27 am
Fri January 2, 2015

Why Buy When You Can Borrow? App Connects People And Stuff

Peerby allows people to share their stuff through a mobile app for free.
Peerby

Originally published on Fri January 2, 2015 1:41 pm

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New Year Reflections
7:42 pm
Thu January 1, 2015

Some 2015 Predictions from Connecticut's Business Community

"Vuurwerk in New York"
PDPhoto.org wikimedia

WNPR’s Business Desk has a tradition at this time of year of asking our contributors from around the state to reflect on the year just past, and make a few predictions for the future. 

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SUV Recall
4:13 pm
Mon December 29, 2014

Massive Recalls Give The Auto Industry An Unwanted Record

General Motors CEO Mary Barra testifies before a Senate panel July 17 at a hearing about auto safety recalls.
Brendan Smialowski AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Mon December 29, 2014 6:35 pm

More than 60 million cars, trucks and SUVs have been recalled this year — nearly twice the previous record. That translates to nearly 1 out of every 4 cars on the road recalled for a safety-related defect.

But analysts say those recalls say more about the way the industry has restructured than about overall car safety.

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