The Providence Journal’s advertising sales continued to decline by double-digits this past summer amid industry upheaval, but the impact was largely offset by a growing number of printing and distribution contracts.
The Journal’s ad revenue was down 10% between July 1 and Sept. 30 compared with the same period in 2012, parent company A.H. Belo disclosed in an SEC filing. Quarterly ad sales fell to $9.4 million, a decrease of $1.1 million.
Total third-quarter revenue at The Journal from all sources was down just 1% from 2012, falling to $22.7 million. Circulation revenue fell 0.5% to $8.8 million. Printing and distribution contracts surged 25% to $3.6 million thanks to new distribution contracts for various other papers and magazines obtained in July from a settlement with another distributor.
PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – After seven years playing a behind-the-scenes role in Rhode Island politics, Brett Smiley stepped out on his own Tuesday, formally launching his campaign to become the 38th mayor of Providence.
Here’s a statistic that won’t surprise regular Nesi’s Notes readers but may surprise others.
A new study by the libertarian-leaning Mercatus Center at George Mason University shows Rhode Island has the largest percentage of real private-sector jobs in the country: 85.7% of total employment. The study defines “true” private-sector jobs as those that aren’t financed by the federal government, whether the individual is employed directly or through a contractor.
“Direct government employment fails to capture the full impact of government spending on state labor markets,” the authors write. “Using federal contract data obtained from USAspending.gov, we estimated the percentage of private sector jobs actually financed by federal contract dollars in each state.”
Here’s the map:
Just 1.4% of private-sector jobs in Rhode Island are funded by federal contracts, compared with 5% in Connecticut and 3.5% in Massachusetts. The share ranges from 10.7% in Virgina to 0.7% in Oregon.
Another Mercatus map includes the depressing statistic that Rhode Island lost 5.4% of its real private-sector jobs between 2007 and 2012, one of the larger decreases in the country:
But government employment and government spending aren’t always the same thing. These analyses don’t show the size of Rhode Island’s retired public payroll (pensioners) or the level of spending by the public sector. Much of the state’s $2 billion in Medicaid spending, for example, doesn’t employ state workers directly.
Autumn does not officially end for another few weeks. But in the world of weather stats, there is something known at the “meteorological autumn”. The meteorological autumn started on September 1 and ended on November 30: here is a look back at that time period:
SOME RECOVERY AFTER VERY DRY OCTOBER
After TF Green received only 0.61″ of rain in October, there was some concern about a drought. In fact, it was the 4th driest October on record. Fortunately, we were able to ring out 4.63″ of rain in November. While that amount is only 0.12 inches above normal, it was much better than getting a second consecutive month of below normal rainfall. Had we seen a dry November, concerns about drought could have become more serious. Most of our November rainfall came from the storm on the day before Thanksgiving; it put down 3.34″ of rain!
When looking at meteorological fall overall, we ended up with 9.83 inches of rainfall. That is still 2.53″ below normal, but the deficit could have been much worse had we not been rescued by that pre-Thanksgiving rainstorm. Also helping out the rainfall deficit was the rain we received yesterday (0.69″ on Sunday, December 1). The rain came one day too late to officially count for the meteorological autumn, but the soil, vegetation, ponds, and rivers don’t care about that!
KEEPING OUR COOL
On average, November was a chilly month with temperatures 2.7 degrees cooler than normal. September was also slightly cooler than normal, but this was partially balanced by a warm October which was 1.4 degrees warmer than normal. Overall, the average temperature (this takes into account both highs and lows) for autumn was 53.4 degrees….this is 0.9 degrees below normal.
SUMMARY METEOROLOGICAL FALL BY THE NUMBERS
Total Rainfall: 9.83″ (2.53″ BELOW NORMAL)
Average High Temperature: 63.4 (0.2 Degrees BELOW NORMAL)
Average Low Temperature: 43.5 (1.5 Degrees BELOW NORMAL)
Average Temperature: 53.4 (0.9 Degrees BELOW NORMAL)
There will be no Christmas tree brouhaha in 2013. Gov. Lincoln Chafee issued a statement Monday morning saying in part, “Because I do not think how we address the State House tree affects our ‘lively experiment,’ this year’s invitation calls the tree a Christmas tree.”
The State House tree will be lit Thursday at 5:30 p.m. – by Secretary of State Ralph Mollis, not Chafee.
Here is a picture tweeted out by the Massachusetts State Police earlier this morning..
This was on I-290 in Worcester, Mass…it was shut down for a while because of this pile up and it appears that ice was the primary reason for the crash.
Freezing rain can be more dangerous than snow because it often acts as a hidden danger. If you wake up and see snow, you usually know to slow down on the roads. But if you wake up and there is freezing rain, you might not notice it until you are driving at a high speed and your car slides over an icy patch.
If you are traveling to northern New England today, you might want to wait until the afternoon when the threat of freezing rain has passed. Check the forecast before you hit the road to make sure the threat is actually gone. The cold air may take a while to move out in northwestern RI, central Mass, and northern New England.
The south coast has been rain showers this morning, and it should stay that way. So if you are traveling on I-95 down into CT or New York City, roads may be wet at times but not icy.
Stay safe and check back for updates! -Pete Mangione
Sunday will be a busy travel day as we close out Thanksgiving Weekend. Overall, things look much quieter than this past Wednesday!
Air Travel: Most of the major airports across the United States should be in good shape. Seattle may get some delays due to rain and wind. Buffalo, NY also has the potential of some snow showers.
Car Travel: Some snow and freezing drizzle are possible in New England on Sunday morning. Therefore, there will be a potential of slick roads to start the day (especially into central Mass and northern New England). As for snow accumulations, you would have to drive well into northern Mass, Vermont, or New Hampshire. Even in these spots, only an inch or two is likely. A few rain showers are possible on Sunday afternoon in Southern New England, but this should not have too much of an effect on traffic.
We will keep you posted with any changes, as there may be a few adjustments made to the Sunday forecast. Travel safely! -Pete Mangione
Welcome to another edition of my weekend column – as always, send your takes, tips and trial balloons to email@example.com. For quick hits all week long, follow me on Twitter: @tednesi.
1. Even the most glass-half-full Rhode Islander probably would admit the state hasn’t seen a huge economic recovery since 2009. So why has the amount of food donated to the Rhode Island Community Food Bank plunged by 22%, from 8.2 million pounds in 2008-09 to 6.4 million pounds in 2012-13? One of the biggest reasons: digital inventory systems are making the food sector much more efficient. ”Food banks were founded on the idea that there was lots of excess food in the system, and that all we had to do was get supermarkets and the food industry to donate it – it was a win-win for everybody,” Food Bank CEO Andrew Schiff said on this week’s Newsmakers. “When I first began in this work, 10 or 12 years ago, there was lots of extra, surplus food available to food banks. And that’s just not true anymore.” Yet even as donations have decreased, demand has grown. The latest federal data shows 17% of Rhode Island’s population – 180,294 residents – are on food stamps, and the monthly payment to a family of four was cut by $36 on Nov. 1. “The economy just hasn’t improved enough for the people we serve,” Schiff said. “Folks are back to work, but at low-wage jobs that don’t give enough earned income to afford enough adequate food for their families.” But he rejects the idea the food-stamp program is creating dependency: “Folks would much rather have an increase in their wages or a better job and get off the benefit completely, to be able to afford food themselves.”
2. I hope you and your family had a safe and happy Thanksgiving, and that you’re continuing to enjoy the festivities if you’re celebrating Hannukah. Like all of you, I’m thankful for the love and support of family and friends, and the blessing of a good job in a great country. I’m also deeply grateful to all the loyal readers who’ve made The Saturday Morning Post and Nesi’s Notes a success over the last three years. Thank you.
PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – Leaders from the Rhode Island State Police and the Providence Police Department are discussing an arrangement that would provide the city with a “semi-permanent” state trooper detail to assist with crime prevention.
In a memo obtained by WPRI.com, State Police Deputy Superintendent Lt. Col. Michael Winquist wrote that approximately six troopers would assist with the city’s Neighborhood Response Team, an eight-year-old joint taskforce between state and Providence Police that has traditionally been used during the summer months and on holiday weekends.
Here’s a fun blast from the past via YouTube for your Black Friday – Perry Como and Lena Horne singing a medley of songs about New England. The show, hosted by Como, aired live on March 4, 1965, from the then-new War Memorial Auditorium in Boston, forerunner of the Hynes Convention Center. It was quite a production, with more than $60,000 spent to equip the new facility for TV, according to The Boston Globe.
The November feast, with turkeys and cranberries, is a creation myth, starring Miles Standish, William Bradford, and the Wampanoag chief, Massasoit. But the figure who most powerfully created American consciousness, coming a little later, was one who risked everything to rebel against what was begun in Plymouth. What we celebrate on Thanksgiving isn’t the theocracy of Massachusetts, but the ideas of Roger Williams, a Puritan who defended the right, one could say, to be religiously impure.
That would make Roger Williams just one more part of Rhode Island’s history with this most American of holidays.
The earliest mention of Thanksgiving in the records of Rhode Island Plantation is 1687. But attempts to create Thanksgiving Day in Rhode Island did not prove very successful. Whether the people were ungrateful or only stubborn is not known, but it is said that when Governor [Edmund] Andros ordered them to appear, to celebrate certain days, which he set apart as days of thanksgiving, the order was so contemptuously carried out that several persons were arrested for disobedience of the King’s ordinances.
Rhode Island has given Thanksgiving headaches to other leaders, too.
In 1802, President Thomas Jefferson remarked that he “regretted very much the late conduct of the legislature of Rhode Island,” which hadn’t joined the rest of New England in proclaiming a day of thanksgiving. And in 1939 Rhode Island’s Republican governor, William Vanderbilt III, was among those who refused to go along with FDR when he tried to move Thanksgiving up a week.
Rhode Island’s most famous contribution to Thanksgiving, though, has probably been its turkeys – most notably thanks to a Westerly farmer by the name of Horace Vose (1840-1913), “the poultry king.”
Vose was “known all over the United States as the man who has furnished the Thanksgiving Turkey to every President from Grant to Roosevelt,” The New York Times reported in 1906. The White House Historical Association has more details:
Vose began raising turkeys with his uncle in the mid-1850s and in 1873 sent a splendid Meleagris gallopavo to President Ulysses S. Grant, beginning a tradition that would last for over four decades as presidents, their families and guests enjoyed Vose’s Thanksgiving and Christmas largess.
After looking over the best flocks in Rhode Island and Connecticut, Vose, a major poultry supplier to the New York market, selected the presidential bird with great care. Vose’s chosen turkeys never weighed fewer than 30 pounds and sometimes topped the scales at 50 pounds.
Vose always slaughtered and dressed the birds and then shipped them express in a box addressed to the president at the White House. Occasionally Vose had competition. In 1913, former congressman South Trimble of Kentucky, then Clerk of the House of Representatives, sent a turkey to President Wilson; Trimble’s turkey weighed 30 pounds in contrast to Vose’s 37, but Trimble claimed his bird, which had been fed a diet that included red peppers, was much more flavorsome. It is not known which bird won the “honor” of gracing the Wilson table that Thanksgiving Day.
When Vose passed away in December 1913 (just a few weeks after Thanksgiving) it made the front page of the old Providence Evening News, which eulogized Vose as being “known throughout the land as the purveyors of turkeys for White House Thanksgiving dinners since the time of President Grant.”
As for me? I’m thankful for you, dear readers. Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours!
(clippings: Hedges Herald of Hedgesville, Montana, Nov. 18, 1913; New York Tribune, Nov. 23, 1902)
The worst of this Wednesday Storm is over, but we’re not out of the woods yet. Additional rain and wind will move into the region.
Generally, 1.5 to 3″ of rain fell across the region so far. Winds gusted as high as 56mph in Rhode Island. There were numerous reports of damage across the region as well, including trees falling into houses and sparking fires.
Looking ahead through the rest of the afternoon and the night, another batch of rain will be working through Southeast New England.
Live Pinpoint Doppler 12 Radar image at 2:45pm Wednesday.
The heaviest of the rain will move across southeastern Massachusetts, but Rhode Island will see more periods of heavy rain, as well.
Once this rain clears between 5 and 7pm, our skies will begin to clear and our temperatures will drop quickly. The winds will remain pretty active, too…shifting to the west 10-20mph with gusts to 30mph this evening and overnight. These winds should help dry the roads, but not completely…and that brings another concern: black ice.
After about 2am, the temperatures will begin to fall below freezing. By 5am, many areas could be into the upper 20′s.
RPM model output for temperatures at 5am Thursday morning.
While most roads should be okay early Thursday morning, I’m thinking there could be some black ice issues. Please drive extra carefully.
It’s been a very difficult morning for travelers with the combination of heavy rain and strong, damaging winds. Here’s a look at our latest wind gusts as of 7am:
In addition, we’re getting reports of significant street flooding–leading to streets being closed and numerous spin-outs during this morning’s commute. So far, rainfall totals are between 1-2.5″ and could end up being as high as 3-4″ in spots. Flight delays and cancellations are beginning to mount at the major northeast airports and can be expected through the day.
NORTH PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – North Providence Mayor Charles Lombardi said he was “distraught” that he had to sign a check for unused sick and vacation time to a firefighter who missed nearly half his career out injured and is now collecting a disability pension.
Good Evening From Chief Meteorologist Tony Petrarca…
Just looking at some new data coming in. The map below are the forecasted wind gusts for Wednesday 10am… Coastal areas may see brief gusts up to 60mph with inland locations gusting to 40-55 mph. Im getting ready for the 10pm news on Fox Providence….tune in for my forecast at 10pm….and again around 10:15pm. Another update on channel 12 starting at 11pm
Just finished analyzing some new data. Everything coming together to produce widespread heavy rain and strong winds around here later Tonight into Wednesday. High Wind Warning remains in effect along with a Flood Watch.
Southerly winds increase overnight, gusting to over 50+ mph by morning. This may leaded to isolaated power outages . Watch for down limbs and powerlines when traveling Wednesday. Rainfall totals by Wednesday Evening will range from 2-3 inches with isolated 4inch amounts. Leaf clogged storm drains will create localized street flooding. Stay tuned for additional blog updates….next one around 9:45pm.
PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – Law enforcement officials in Rhode Island’s capital city say they plan to begin cracking down on hookah bars and other establishments that have managed to dodge the statewide indoor smoking ban that took effect in 2005.
In a letter sent to all of the city’s liquor license holders Nov. 1, Providence Public Safety Commissioner Steven Pare warned that that the city would be ramping up enforcement of the law beginning in December. A similar letter was sent to bar and restaurant owners in April.
The Democratic political consulting firm founded by former Angel Taveras campaign-finance director Peter Baptista and lobbyist Nicholas Hemond is staffing up and has added a major new client.
The Hamilton Group, a year-old outfit that made a name for itself running House Speaker Gordon Fox’s successful 2012 re-election campaign, has signed on with City Council president and Providence mayoral candidate Michael Solomon, Baptista told WPRI.com.
Baptista said the firm will provide “strategic consulting that will include fundraising” for Solomon, an Elmhurst Democrat who has served on the council since 2007. Solomon is expected to formally enter the mayor’s race in January, but has been stockpiling campaign funds while preparing his candidacy for more than a year.
Presley forwarded two Oct. 10 email messages sent in response to Target 12′s June 4 request for information. The documents show the town’s locally-run pension fund posted a negative 0.59% return in the year ended June 30, 2012, but acknowledge there is no data for its investment performance over the last five or 10 years.
The documents also show West Warwick’s pension-fund fees totaled $182,502 in 2011-12; $228,066 in 2010-11; and $228,845 in 2009-10.
The center of the storm has been gathering moisture from the Gulf of Mexico over the last 24 hours and is now making it’s way into the southeast US. Here’s an update on the storm timing for our area:
In terms of rainfall amounts, latest data in as of noon on Tuesday is still pointing to widespread 1.5″ to 3.5″ of rain over RI, southeastern MA and eastern CT.
RPM 12z Model Accumulated Precipitation through 7am Thursday
Based on growing confidence in a period of heavy rain, the National Weather Service has placed our area under a “Flood Watch” from late tonight into Wednesday afternoon. The main concern is for localized street and poor drainage flooding. Smaller rivers and streams could also see rapid rises in water levels, but our major rivers should stay within their banks. In addition our area is now under a “High Wind Warning” for the potential for south and southeasterly gusts up to 40-60mph. Winds of that strength could lead to wind damage and power outages. The wind warning is from 4am Wednesday through 1pm Wednesday.
Due to the height of the storm in the northeast falling on the busiest travel day of the year, delays in the air and on the roads can be expected. Delays could be significant… especially prior to 5pm on Wednesday.
NORTH PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – The hiring of a 52-year-old as a North Providence firefighter nine years ago has proved to be an expensive liability for taxpayers in the town and the state, Mayor Charles Lombardi told Target 12.
Stephen Campbell was sworn in as a frontline firefighter in 2003 under former Mayor Ralph Mollis, who is now Rhode Island’s secretary of state. Under the terms of his union contract, Campbell would have had to fight fires until the age of 72 to be eligible for a pension.
PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – Providence Mayor Angel Taveras on Tuesday unveiled a sweeping proposal to offer universal pre-kindergarten across Rhode Island, a plan that would require a massive expansion of state-funded early childhood education programs.
Taveras, a first-term Democrat who has already declared his candidacy for governor next year, said his goal would be to enroll 76% of Rhode Island children in pre-K by 2018, a plan he believes would cost the state approximately $24.6 million annually.
Lawyers briefed the judge overseeing a union lawsuit challenging Rhode Island’s 2011 pension overhaul once again last week about the progress of their court-ordered mediation to settle the case.
Attorneys on both sides of the suit met last Thursday morning with R.I. Superior Court Judge Sarah Taft-Carter, court spokesman Craig Berke said. Last December she ordered the state and the unions into a formal, closed-door mediation process overseen by the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service.
The “status quo” in the pension talks continues, Berke said after conferring with Taft-Carter.
Thursday’s status conference took place less than two weeks after the previous one as the time frame between meetings shrinks, which has fueled rising speculation that the two sides are nearing an agreement. The next status conference will be Dec. 9 at 9 a.m., almost a year after Taft-Carter ordered talks to begin.
Thursday’s status conference was the 11th one the two sides have held since last winter. The previous ones were on Nov. 12, Oct. 28, Sept. 30, Sept. 5, Aug. 6, May 17, April 22, March 25, Feb. 28 and Feb. 1.
PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – Graduation rates in Rhode Island’s poorest communities are on the rise, but one in three students still aren’t completing high school on time, according to a policy brief released Monday by Rhode Island Kids Count, the state’s leading child advocacy group.
Here is the latest thinking as of Monday Morning, November 25:
Our computer models have come into good agreement with the storm system moving up the East Coast of the United States on Wednesday. While confidence is high that New England will get hit by the storm, the latest indications are that, given the storm track, it will bring RAIN and WIND to the major cities of the northeast—from DC/Baltimore to Philly, NYC and Boston this will be a heavy rain maker. In fact, even far northern New England will see mostly rain from this latest storm with the rain/snow line pushed far to the west–into northern and western New York State and southeast Canada. That’s good news for pre-Thanksgiving travels; however, any unsettled weather on this busy travel day will likely lead to some delays on the roads and in the air.
The latest runs of the NAM, GFS and ECWMF computer models this morning all show a storm track through western CT on Wednesday morning:
06Z NAM valid Wednesday Morning
00z GFS valid Wednesday Morning
This inland would mean a strong southerly wind in RI/SE MA and temperatures soaring to near 60 during the day. With that in mind, the biggest concerns will be the potential for heavy rain leading to localized street and poor drainage flooding along with perhaps some minor small stream flooding.
Begins: Light showers arrive after 4pm on Tuesday
Heaviest: From 12am to 12pm on Wednesday
Ends: Showers taper off Wednesday evening
Rainfall: 2-3″ of rain likely with isolated amounts to near 4″.
Winds: South winds 20-30mph with gusts 40-50mph. Isolated wind damage/power outages possible.
Some travel impacts can be expected from this storm, though not as significant as if wintry weather were impacting the area. Heavy rain could lead to localized street and poor drainage flooding and slowed travel on local roadways–especially through the first half of Wednesday.
Air delays should not be too significant due to the storm (volume of travelers causing delays is an entirely different story).
Rain is outta here on Wednesday night with dry skies and MUCH COLDER conditions for Thanksgiving. Temperatures will be in the mid 30s with wind chills in the ‘teens. Football fields will be soggy from Wednesday’s rain, but dry skies are expected for the high school games.
PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – Rhode Islanders will be able to sign up for health insurance coverage until Dec. 23 and still have it take effect on New Year’s Day, HealthSource RI spokeswoman Dara Chadwick told WPRI.com on Sunday. HealthSource RI is the state’s Obamacare marketplace.
The most recent computer models are now agreeing on a storm track that shifts further to the west. This suggest that we will be on the milder side of the Wednesday storm. Although the rain/snow line could move in the next few forecasts, it’s likely that our viewing area will stay with all rain. Some mixing to snow is possible briefly early on Wednesday morning in our higher elevations (northern and western RI), but even that is iffy.
Wednesday Forecast: A soaking of rain with gusty winds is likely on Wednesday. Some pockets of heavy rain are possible with totals between 0.5 and 2.0 inches. This seems like a very wide range, but the event is still several days away so it’s too early to get specific on rainfall amounts. Sustained winds could range from 10 to 25 mph…while gusts could range from 25 to 45 mph. Again, we can narrow down these ranges in the coming days. High temperatures will range from the 40s to low 50s…keeping this mostly a rain event.
STORM IMPACT ON NEW ENGLAND ROAD TRAVEL: Highway travel along I-95 from New England down to Washington DC will be a little slower because of rain. However, because we are not expecting snow on the I-95 corridor, the roads will be drivable…just use some extra caution. A few of our side roads have the potential of street flooding, but most of the area should stay clear of any significant flooding. Some mixing to wet snow is possible in northern Connecticut and northwestern Mass on Wednesday morning…this may also slow down your drive. To get snow accumulations and slippery snow covered roads…it looks like you might have to drive all the way into northern parts of Vermont and New Hampshire (that part of the forecast is very uncertain right now).
STORM IMPACT ON AIR TRAVEL: TF Green will probably be in good shape most of Wednesday. There could be some brief delays due to fog, low clouds, or rain. But because we are expecting rain (and even a few thunderstorms) up and down the entire east coast Wednesday, at least some minor delays are possible. This includes planes going to or from New York City, Washington DC, Philadelphia, and Charlotte. Besides the east coast rain and some lake effect snow in Pennsylvania and New York state , the weather across the rest of the country looks great!
As usual, stay tuned for changes and updates! -Pete Mangione