Business news

PROVIDENCE, R.I. – Providence Mayor Angel Taveras yesterday created a five-member panel to assess the fiscal condition of Rhode Island's capital city.

Taveras says assembling a team of experts is an important part of strengthening Providence's finances. He calls it a difficult challenge and one faced by cities across the country.

PROVIDENCE, R.I. – A couple Rhode Island grocery stores are about to close. Shaw's has announced it's closing five stores: three in Massachusetts and two in Rhode Island.

The Rhode Island stores affected are in Warwick and Johnston. The Massachusetts locations are New Bedford, Stoneham and Revere.

Photo courtesy of Daniel Forster.

PROVIDENCE, R.I. – Supporters of a push to bring the America's Cup sailing race back to Newport say a new study shows the international competition could have a $1.1 billion impact on the state. The announcement came Wednesday, two days before the deadline to select the next host city for the final leg of the race in 2013.

PROVIDENCE, R.I. – A spokesman for Rhode Island Gov.-elect Lincoln Chafee says Chafee and representatives of the Golden Gate Yacht Club all agree that Newport is the "natural home for the America's Cup."

Chafee met privately Thursday with team representatives and with Keith Stokes, head of the state's Economic Development Corp.

PROVIDENCE, R.I. – Faith leaders in the state are calling on the religious community, businesses and philanthropists to help address what they say is a shortfall in the number of beds available at emergency shelters.

Rev. Don Anderson, of the State Council of Churches, says people of faith should make donation at their local place of worship or to the Rhode Island Coalition for the Homeless.

PROVIDENCE, R.I. – The head of the state's Coastal Resources Management Council said he will make sure fishermen are treated fairly as Deepwater Wind rolls out its proposal for 200 turbines off the Rhode Island, Massachusetts coast. State and federal officials meet Friday to discuss the plan.

Deepwater Wind wants to put 200 turbines 20 miles off the coast to provide electricity for the northeast. Coastal Resources Management Council Executive Director Grover Fugate said he wishes Deepwater Wind had started with smaller projects.

PROVIDENCE, R.I. – Gas prices in Rhode Island have climbed for the fifth straight week to an average $3.06 per gallon for regular unleaded.

AAA Southern new England says in its weekly survey released Monday that the price of a gallon of gas rose two cents from last week.

Since this time last year, prices have risen 39 cents a gallon, up nearly 15 percent.

AAA says prices in Rhode Island are 11 cents above the national average of $2.95 per gallon.

PROVIDENCE, R.I. – Years of planning and construction will become reality today with the start of commuter rail service from Warwick to Providence and on to Boston.

Rhode Island's two United States senators will join Governor Carcieri in a special train ride from Providence to Warwick this morning. When the train pulls up to the new intermodal facility at T.F. Green Airport the Pilgrim High School marching band will be playing.

PROVIDENCE, R.I. – Remember all the detours caused by the Iway project? Well, something similar is about to start in Pawtucket.

A portion of Taft Street will be closed today in Pawtucket, the first of many road closures prompted by the replacement of the Pawtucket River Bridge. This section of road will remain closed for approximately three years.

Frank Corrao, project manager for the state transportation department, says the new Pawtucket River Bridge will not only be a functional, but aesthetic improvement.

PROVIDENCE, R.I. – At Roger Williams University in Bristol, water rushes into a bathtub-sized tank on a dock at Mount Hope Bay. Dale Leavitt, an associate professor of marine biology, removes a cover revealing quahogs and oysters.

"If you look in here, these are all baby oysters that we've reared up this summer," Leavitt says. "We like to think of them as about the size of a quarter."

PROVIDENCE, R.I. – One in every seven Rhode Islanders is food insecure and a record number are relying on food pantries to put food on the table. That, according to the Rhode Island Community Food Bank's annual report which will be released later today.

The number of people using food pantries for assistance has risen by 17,000 a month since the Recession began three years ago. Food bank CEO Andrew Schiff says the current pace of nearly 10 million pounds a year is unsustainable.

Providence, RI – By MEGAN HALL
The Rhode Island Retail Federation is feeling optimistic about sales this coming holiday weekend.

Executive director Paul DeRoche says it's the first time in two years he's felt positive about sales on so called Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving.

He's predicting a slight increase in purchases- up about 1.4% from last year. "Particularly in the technology field," DeRoche says. "I-Pads, I-Phones. I think we're going to be pleasantly surprised after Black Friday."

A wind turbine is pictured at NE Tech in Warwick. Photo by Louis Oppenheimer.

PROVIDENCE, R.I. – The Northeast Offshore Wind Summit is being held in Providence Monday and Tuesday. Regional developers and policymakers are reviewing the energy potential of wind power as well as the necessity of training a workforce for the new wind industry.

While the conference has focused on offshore wind projects such as the wind farm on Block Island, Rhode Island Economic Development Corporation Government Affairs Director Fred Hashway says on-shore special area management projects are important too.

PROVIDENCE, R.I. – Rhode Island has received $80 million from the federal treasury to help homeowners in danger of foreclosure.

The program, called the "Hardest Hit Fund," is now available in Providence and by December 1 will be available statewide.

The Hardest Hit Fund is expected to spare 5,000 to 10,000 Rhode Island families the indignity of foreclosure. It's a zero percent loan program with one important caveat: the loan is forgivable after five years provided the homeowner meets certain requirements.

PROVIDENCE, R.I. – The second part of an annual process to forecast state finances continues today at the State House.

The revenue estimating conference takes place twice a year - in May and November. Legislators and other officials will use the projections formed during the conference to shape the next state budget.

Rhode Island ended the last fiscal year with a small surplus. But when federal stimulus money runs out the state will face an estimated $361 million deficit for the fiscal year beginning next July.