Business

This is one of those stories that reminds us that everything really is connected to everything else.

Here's the web of connections: a threat to California's booming almond business; hard times for honeybees in North Dakota; and high corn prices.

Confused?

OK, let's start with the almonds. They come from an old-world tree that migrated to California and prospered in the hands of farmers like James McFarlane, who lives right outside the city of Clovis.

Certificate Of Need--Is It Still Needed?

Feb 14, 2012
Auntie P / flickr

New Hampshire lawmakers are proposing a law that would do away with the Certificate of Need process. This is a state requirement for hospitals and other healthcare facilities that want to expand or establish new medical facilities. The aim of CON is to keep redundant healthcare out of the system.

Cancer Treatment Centers of America is eyeing a spot in New Hampshire. The for profit chain wants to build a hospital in the Northeast.

Gene Gregory and Wayne Pacelle are the odd couple of American agriculture.

"We were adversaries. Some might say bitter adversaries,"
says Pacelle, president of the Humane Society of the United States.

Cancer Treatment Centers of America is eyeing a spot in New Hampshire. The for profit chain wants to build a hospital in the Northeast. CTCA successfully lobbied Georgia to change its regulations so a specialty hospital could be built in that state. The company is hoping lawmakers in New Hampshire will make similar changes. A proposed law would exempt specialty cancer hospitals from certain regulations and also from Medicaid taxes.

Photo by dennis_p via Flickr Creative Commons

Here’s something else you’re bound to hear somebody say before kickoff on Sunday,“I don’t really watch football, but I like the ads and maybe the halftime show.” With bazillions of viewers watching "sans Tevo,” advertisers pull out all the stops for the big game, rolling out their most creative, edgy, and, hopefully, memorable campaigns.  This year though, Superbowl advertisers are adding a new offensive move to their playbooks – digital integration.  Here to tell us more is Sean Owen, CEO of the marketing and ad agency Wedu.

To Grow Business, Starbucks Thinks Outside The Cup

Jan 26, 2012

Just four years ago, Starbucks seemed to be losing its mojo. Howard Schultz, the man who made Starbucks a household name, returned to the company as CEO. He closed hundreds of stores, streamlined operations and set the company on a path to record revenues and strong profits.

Starbucks serves 60 million beverages a week, which adds up to big profits. The company reports its earnings Thursday. In a bid to further expand its consumer base, Starbucks has a new roast and plans to produce more retail products to sell outside of its coffeehouses.

In the world of weight loss programs, Weight Watchers rules, with more than a million members worldwide. New CEO David Kirchoff is credited with increasing meeting attendance in North America by fourteen percent, and upping online membership by 64%. Those numbers mean money, of course. Weigh Watchers is valued at an estimated at five billion dollars…double that of a year ago.

Chris jensen for NHPR

Concerns about a government that can’t work together to solve problems and possible cuts to valuable federal programs were top concerns of about a dozen North Country businessmen who met Thursday with Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R).

“Our whole society and our economy needs greater confidence,” said Peter Powell, a realtor from Lancaster who attended the meeting held by the North Country Council in Bethlehem.

With Christmas and Hanukkah wrapped-up, we've officially reached the pre-New Year's lull. This brief respite from the regularly scheduled holiday cheer is when many people take the opportunity to consider their accomplishments and failures over the past year, and resolve to do better in the future. Other people just go to work for a few days and get really, really bored at their desks as they countdown to their next party.

Either way, it's a bit of a restless period, isn't it?

(Photo by Owly via Flickr Creative Commons)

Contrary to the buy now messaging of the season, kids aren’t looking only for instant gratification. Take Lego.  In 2005, Lego Corporation came back from the brink by capitalizing on research showing  that kids are inspired by the difficulty and process of mastering a complicated model. So, rather than dumbing down to compete with the plug-in immediacy of video games, Lego ramped up the sophistication of its models.

Millions of Americans wake up each morning without a job, even though they desperately want to work. It's one of the depressing legacies of the financial crisis and Great Recession.

NPR and the Kaiser Family Foundation conducted a poll of people who had been unemployed or with an insufficient level of work for more than a year. The results document the financial, emotional and physical effects of long-term unemployment and underemployment.

Each year the Business and Industry Association of New Hampshire surveys business owners to guage the state’s economic climate and what’s on the minds of business owners.

Tulane Publications / Flickr Creative Commons

The Upper Valley Business & Education Partnership makes connections between schools and their wider communities. Tyler Mansfield and Jim Madden met through the Partnership’s “Everybody Wins!” reading mentoring program.

JIM: I’ve always loved to read so it was really just sort of a natural fit to share my love of reading with the students. I guess we both discovered we kind of liked mysteries.

<a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/partiallyblind/1164043991/in/photostream/" target="blank">partiallyblind</a> via Flickr/Creative Commons

H-1B visas help employers find skilled workers they can’t find in the US workforce.

Something else that’s hard to come by these days for some businesses is credit.

Turns out there’s a visa program for that too. Foreigners can apply for an EB-5 visa, as long as they agree to invest a half million dollars or more in capital investment project for an American company.

Photo by Aerrin99, courtesy of Flickr Creative Commons

Independent producer John Lynch explores the increasing role of big-budget advertising in seducing the 30-something gamer generation to support the industry's Hollywood level profits. 

Photo by cobalt123, from Flickr Creative Commons

You've seen bumper stickers: shop local, eat local... now, a grassroots call to invest local.  And like any good movement, it utilizes a catchy word-combo. Joining us to talk about it is Amy Cortese, author of Locavesting: The Revolution in Local Investing and How to Profit it.

LINKS Amy's Blog about Locavesting NH Community Loan Fund site  

A new federal grant is going to be helping small businesses in the North Country. NHPR’s Chris Jensen reports.

About $400,000 is now available in grants under a federal program aimed at helping  small businesses in Grafton, Coos and Carroll Counties.

Molly White is with the Northern Community Investment Corporation in Lancaster. It is administering the funds.

“Typically I find that most business owners know their type of business or the industry they are in very well but they have trouble with the other types of support services such as marketing or web design.”

PUC Awards Grants For Renewable Energy

Nov 4, 2011

The Public Utilities Commission has awarded grants to fund renewable energy projects in the state.

Four companies and one elementary school will receive part of a one million dollar grant for projects that reduce dependence on fossil fuels.

Carbon Harvest Energy will receive the largest portion of the grant -$500,000- for a landfill gas-to-energy combined heat and power plant in Lebanon.

Greenville Elementary School will receive a grant to replace its oil-fired boiler with a wood pellet one.

Some New Hampshire residents are still dealing with power outages from the aftermath of the October snowstorm.

But in the Upper Valley, many businesses are still recovering from the aftermath of Tropical Storm Irene.

It’s been more than two months since Irene flooded the heart of the shopping district in Lebanon, New Hampshire.

Three shopping plazas in Lebanon were hit hard during Tropical Storm Irene.

Tax collections were off in the month of October by $4 million dollars. The drop in tobacco revenue makes up the majority of the shortfall.

The tobacco tax brought in $2.6 million less than expected in October.

That shortfall has prompted criticism of the GOP push to cut the tax by a dime back in June.

In a sharply worded press release about the overall budget House Democrats said it doesn’t make sense to “make college more expensive and cigarettes cheaper.”

Monday was the deadline for employees at the Union Leader to ratify a new 2-year contract. Company negotiators said failure to reach a new deal would result in layoffs and a 10% salary cut. Reporters, editors, advertising staff and others at the paper have unanimously rejected the new deal. Workers say this latest round of cutbacks threatens the paper’s standing.

Norm Welsh started working at the state’s largest newspaper back in the late 80’s.

He remembers those times fondly.

Daddy's Junky Music Closes

Oct 27, 2011

From Twitter:

DADDY'S JUNKY MUSIC CLOSING? that's where I got my first guitar

wishing to have given in to the recent compulsion to visit

after 39 years......I'm shocked!

Remember to tip your guitarist for delivering that pizza.

And so it went.

An iconic store of New England’s music scene has shut its doors.  Daddy’s Junky Music was forced by creditors to close its operations after 39 years. 

The Hotel Wentworth by the Sea owes dozens of its former employees nearly $72 thousand dollars in back wages. The hotel and its sub-contractor failed to pay kitchen and housekeeping staff for over a month.

The U.S. Department of Labor investigation found that Wentworth by the Sea and its subcontractor Eco-Clean New England failed to pay some workers for a 4-7 week period.

The hotel also didn’t pay overtime to workers, who primarily are non-native English speakers and live in the Boston area.

Kestrel Aircraft Company

Last week Berlin got the news that a new company – which officials declined to name - could be bringing at least 150 manufacturing jobs to the city. NHPR’s Chris Jensen has talked to the chief executive officer of that company.

The North Country could be getting into the high-tech end of the aircraft industry.

Kestrel Aircraft Company of Brunswick Maine is seriously considering setting up a plant in Berlin.

“Well, Berlin is one of the locations we have been looking at and there are a number of very interesting attributes there.”

Brady Carlson, NHPR

The Northern Pass hydropower project from Quebec, which includes transmission lines through New Hampshire, has divided our state with passionate disagreement on the amount of energy it will bring, how badly that energy’s needed, and the economics of the project, including its affect on property values. We’ll talk to those on both sides of this debate.

Guests

This month’s installment of our 11 for '11 series of big picture conversations on the issues of our times. Today, it’s energy, specifially oil. Oil is trading at 112-dollars a barrel, up from 86-dollars a year ago. Michael Klare says the era of easy oil is behind us. He’s made news for his concept of “extreme energy” – the pursuit of fossil fuels in increasingly difficult environments using expensive and sometimes dangerous methods.

Faced with strong, statewide opposition officials from Northern Pass say they are reworking parts of their plan, including finding a better route through the North Country. NHPR’s Chris Jensen reports.

NorthernPass officials say they want to change some important parts of their plan to bring 1,200 megawatts of hydro-electric power from Canada.

 Their possible changes include finding a new route between Canada and Groveton, one that will calm the furor in the North Country.

 Last month at least 2,300 people attended seven public hearings on the project.

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