Why Shop at a Specialty Nursery?

If you buy all your plants at a big-box store, you’re missing out on a wealth of botanical treasures you’ll never find anywhere else.

#bowen-ed-h, #content-type-personal-profile, #content-type-service, #flowers-and-plants, #gardens-and-gardening, #issima-little-compton-ri-retailer, #johnston-taylor-1982, #rhode-island

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How Rhode Island Fell to the Coronavirus

A dense population of vulnerable citizens set the stage for a frightening epidemic.

#central-falls-ri, #coronavirus-2019-ncov, #deaths-fatalities, #disease-rates, #elderly, #emergency-medical-treatment, #hispanic-americans, #hospitals, #hygiene-and-cleanliness, #loneliness, #masks, #medicine-and-health, #new-england-states-us, #nursing-and-nurses, #nursing-homes, #pawtucket-ri, #protective-clothing-and-gear, #providence-ri, #quarantines, #rhode-island, #rhode-island-hospital, #vaccination-and-immunization, #workplace-hazards-and-violations, #your-feed-science

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What Can We Learn From Where the Schools Stayed Open?

As districts across the country wrestle with when to return to in-person instruction, the story of Providence, R.I., offers a lesson in what it takes to do so.

#coronavirus-reopenings, #coronavirus-risks-and-safety-concerns, #education-k-12, #quarantines, #raimondo-gina-m, #rhode-island, #teachers-and-school-employees

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A Winter Storm Is Set to Wallop the Northeast: What We Know

A nor’easter is expected to stall off the coast of New Jersey and may drop more than two inches of snow an hour in some parts of the region, the National Weather Service said.

#boston-mass, #central-park-manhattan-ny, #connecticut, #east-coast-us, #massachusetts, #national-weather-service, #new-jersey, #new-york-city, #new-york-state, #northeastern-states-us, #rhode-island, #snow-and-snowstorms

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Former Boy Scouts Chaplain Is Sentenced to 40 Years in Prison for Sexual Abuse

James Glawson, 76, sexually assaulted six young men, including one who is developmentally disabled, Rhode Island authorities said.

#abuse-of-the-disabled, #boy-scouts, #chaplains, #child-abuse-and-neglect, #glawson-james, #intellectual-disabilities, #men-and-boys, #rhode-island, #sex-crimes, #suits-and-litigation-civil

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New York-based indoor ag company Gotham Greens raises $87 million

Lettuce celebrate the rise of indoor agriculture.

In the past few months AppHarvest, a developer of greenhouse tomato farms went public through a special purpose acquisition vehicle, vertical farming giant Plenty raised $140 million, and now Gotham Greens, which is developing its own network of greenhouses, is announcing the close of $87 million in new funding.

These new agriculture companies certainly have a green thumb when it comes to raising a cornucopia of capital.

Gotham Greens latest round takes the company to a whopping total of $130 million in funding since its launch. Investors in the round included Manna Tree and The Silverman Group.

While App Harvest has taken to tomatoes in its attempt to ketchup with the leading agricultural companies, Gotham Greens has decided to let its hydroponically grown leafy greens lead the way to riches.

The company said it would use the latest funding to continue developing more greenhouse across the U.S. and bring new vegetables to market.

“Given increasing challenges facing centralized food supply chains, combined with rapidly shifting consumer preferences, Gotham Greens is focused on expanding its regional growing operations and distribution capabilities at one of the most critical periods for America,” said Viraj Puri, the co-founder and chief executive of Gotham Greens, in a statement. 

The company already sells its greens in over 40 states and operates greenhouses in Chicago, Providence, R.I., Baltimore and Denver. From those greenhouses the company distributes to 2,000 retail locations including Whole Foods Markets, Albertsons stores, Meijer, Target, King Soopers, Harris Teeter, ShopRite and Sprouts. 

And Gotham Greens has already begun to expand its product portfolio. The company now sells packaged salads, cooking sauces, and salad bowls in addition to its greens.

Assorted packages of Gotham Greens lettuces on a white field. Image Credit: Gotham Greens

#agriculture, #albertsons, #america, #baltimore, #chicago, #denver, #gotham-greens, #greenhouse, #greens, #hydroponics, #king, #plenty, #providence, #rhode-island, #target, #tc, #united-states, #urban-agriculture, #whole-foods

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Earthquake Rattles Parts of Massachusetts and Rhode Island

The quake, which had a preliminary magnitude of 4.0, was also felt in the Long Island Sound, the United States Geological Survey said.

#connecticut, #earthquakes, #geology, #long-island-sound, #massachusetts, #rhode-island

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The Wanderlust Group raises $14.2M to double-down on getting folks outdoors

The Wanderlust Group, a Rhode Island-based startup focused on building software for the boating world, announced that it has closed a $14.2 million Series B round of capital this week. The new funds were provided by Allen & Company, Drubner Equities and Avenir Corporation, a collection of family office capital and management groups.

Wanderlust had raised $13.1 million prior to this round of funding, making its new Series B larger than all the capital the startup had raised previously.

According to Wanderlust’s CEO, Mike Melillo, a large percentage of the company’s early team were formerly senior denizens at HubSpot, allowing the startup to raise money in smaller, $2 and $3 million rounds before its Series B. The CEO added that his company had been looking to raise just $7 million, and had been on a path to profitability.

Demand embiggened the round, putting more capital into the Newport startup’s coffers.

The Wanderlust Group has two main halves today: Dockwa, a software suite for marinas that allows them to manage their businesses, from customer acquisition through to operations. And Wanderlust bought Marinas.com back in 2017, a classifieds service for marinas that it claims is the “world’s #1 searchable marina directory.”

Dockwa’s marina software costs from a little over $1,000 yearly up to $30,000 for larger, more complex operations.

The startup has expansion plans, for which its boosted capital base may come in handy. The company wants to expand from the marina and boating worlds into the RV market, a space into which Dockwa customers are helping pull the company.

Melillo said the company noticed some of its customers essentially hacking the boating software to include RV rentals, something that some marinas feature. As far as customer signals regarding product direction go, that was a clear one. (Its About page hints that the future RV product could be called “Campouts.”)

The Wanderlust Group is a vertical SaaS play, attacking a market that runs too frequently on old-school technologies, or a simple lack of tech. Software may make it easier for marinas to book more boats, and easier for boaters to lock in berths, allowing their owners to set out on more trips.

If so, that would match Wanderlust’s goal, which Melillo described as getting folks outdoors more. That’s something that the pandemic is assisting, notably, with the CEO telling TechCrunch that COVID-19 has helped get younger folks like millennials outside, and into boats. He also pointed to the average age of folks purchasing boats dropping recently, a reversal of prior trends.

Regardless, with plans to evolve from the sea to the land, and an eye on international markets — Melillo told TechCrunch that Australia and New Zealand are prime RV countries — The Wanderlust Group appears well set to get more folks out of their office chairs and out the door.

Closing, the fully remote-enabled startup has an interesting cultural setup in which it doesn’t have formal Monday work days. Meetings are banned on Mondays, and employees can work or not, as they wish. Why? Because a lot of the staff live in coastal towns — where there are marinas, we reckon — where Mondays are the day when tourists aren’t around, making it a good day to get around and enjoy the world. So Wanderlust has the day off, or at least sufficiently off so that its staff can catch up on real work, sans interruption.

According to Melillo, the setup has led to better Tuesday meetings, and, I would guess, pretty good personnel retention.

#allen-company, #avenir-corporation, #drubner-equities, #fundings-exits, #recent-funding, #rhode-island, #startups, #tc, #the-wanderlust-group

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Facebook steps into cloud gaming — and another feud with Apple

Facebook will soon be the latest tech giant to enter the world of cloud gaming. Their approach is different than what Microsoft or Google has built but Facebook highlights a shared central challenge: dealing with Apple.

Facebook is not building a console gaming competitor to compete with Stadia or xCloud, instead the focus is wholly on mobile games. Why cloud stream mobile games that your device is already capable of running locally? Facebook is aiming to get users into games more quickly and put less friction between a user seeing an advertisement for a game and actually playing it themselves. Users can quickly tap into the title without downloading anything and if they eventually opt to download the title from a mobile app store, they’ll be able to pick up where they left off.

Facebook’s service will launch on the desktop web and Android, but not iOS due to what Facebook frames as usability restrictions outlined in Apple’s App Store terms and conditions.

With the new platform, users will  be able to start playing mobile games directly from Facebook ads. Image via Facebook.

While Apple has suffered an onslaught of criticism in 2020 from developers of major apps like Spotify, Tinder and Fortnite for how much money they take as a cut from revenues of apps downloaded from the App Store, the plights of companies aiming to build cloud gaming platforms have been more nuanced and are tied to how those platforms are fundamentally allowed to operate on Apple devices.

Apple was initially slow to provide a path forward for cloud gaming apps from Google and Microsoft, which had previously been outlawed on the App Store. The iPhone maker recently updated its policies to allow these apps to exist, but in a more convoluted capacity than the platform makers had hoped, forcing them to first send users to the App Store before being able to cloud stream a gaming title on their platform.

For a user downloading a lengthy single-player console epic, the short pitstop is an inconvenience, but long-time Facebook gaming exec Jason Rubin says that the stipulations are a non-starter for what Facebook’s platform envisions, a way to start playing mobile games immediately without downloading anything.

“It’s a sequence of hurdles that altogether make a bad consumer experience,” Rubin tells TechCrunch.

Apple tells TechCrunch that they have continued to engage with Facebook on bringing its gaming efforts under its guidelines and that platforms can reach iOS by either submitting each individual game to the App Store for review or operating their service on Safari.

In terms of building the new platform onto the mobile web, Rubin says that without being able to point users of their iOS app to browser-based experiences, as current rules forbid, Facebook doesn’t see pushing its billions of users to accessing the service primarily from a browser as a reasonable alternative. In a Zoom call, Rubin demoes how this  could operate on iOS, with users tapping an advertisement inside the app and being redirected to a game experience in mobile Safari.

“But if I click on that, I can’t go to the web. Apple says, ‘No, no, no, no, no, you can’t do that,’ Rubin tells us. “Apple may say that it’s a free and open web, but what you can actually build on that web is dictated by what they decide to put in their core functionality.”

Facebook VP of Play Jason Rubin. Image via Facebook.

Rubin, who co-founded the game development studio Naughty Dog in 1994 before it was acquired by Sony in 2001, has been at Facebook since he joined Oculus months after its 2014 acquisition was announced. Rubin had previously been tasked with managing the games ecosystem for its virtual reality headsets, this year he was put in charge of the company’s gaming initiatives across their core family of apps as the company’s VP of Play.

Rubin, well familiar with game developer/platform skirmishes, was quick to distinguish the bone Facebook had to pick with Apple and complaints from those like Epic Games which sued Apple this summer.

“I do want to put a pin in the fact that we’re giving Google 30% [on Android]. The Apple issue is not about money,” Rubin tells TechCrunch. “We can talk about whether or not it’s fair that Google takes that 30%. But we would be willing to give Apple the 30% right now, if they would just let consumers have the opportunity to do what we’re offering here.”

Facebook is notably also taking a 30% cut of transaction within these games, even as Facebook’s executive team has taken its own shots at Apple’s steep revenue fee in the past, most recently criticizing how Apple’s App Store model was hurting small businesses during the pandemic. This saga eventually led to Apple announcing that it would withhold its cut through the end of the year for ticket sales of small businesses hosting online events.

Apple’s reticence to allow major gaming platforms a path towards independently serving up games to consumers underscores the significant portion of App Store revenues that could be eliminated by a consumer shift towards these cloud platforms. Apple earned around $50 billion from the App Store last year, CNBC estimates, and gaming has long been their most profitable vertical.

Though Facebook is framing this as an uphill battle against a major platform for the good of the gamer, this is hardly a battle between two underdogs. Facebook pulled in nearly $70 billion in ad revenues last year and improving their offerings for mobile game studios could be a meaningful step towards increasing that number, something Apple’s App Store rules threaten.

For the time being, Facebook is keeping this launch pretty conservative. There are just 5-10 titles that are going to be available at launch, Rubin says. Facebook is rolling out access to the new service, which is free, this week across a handful of states in America, including California, Texas, Massachusetts, New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Delaware, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Washington, D.C., Virginia and West Virginia. The hodge-podge nature of the geographic rollout is owed to the technical limitations of cloud-gaming– people have to be close to data centers where the service has rolled out in order to have a usable experience. Facebook is aiming to scale to the rest of the U.S. in the coming months, they say.

#america, #android, #app-store, #california, #cloud-gaming, #computing, #connecticut, #delaware, #epic-games, #executive, #facebook, #google, #iphone, #jason-rubin, #maryland, #massachusetts, #microsoft, #mobile-app, #mobile-game, #new-jersey, #new-york, #operating-systems, #pennsylvania, #rhode-island, #software, #sony, #spotify, #tc, #texas, #tinder, #united-states, #virginia, #virtual-reality, #vp, #washington-d-c, #web-browser, #xcloud

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She’s 13, and the Source of a Family’s Covid-19 Outbreak

The C.D.C. and four state health departments described how one girl spread the coronavirus to 11 relatives during a gathering.

#centers-for-disease-control-and-prevention, #children-and-childhood, #coronavirus-2019-ncov, #georgia, #illinois, #massachusetts, #morbidity-and-mortality-weekly-report, #research, #rhode-island, #teenagers-and-adolescence, #your-feed-health, #your-feed-science

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A Rhode Islander Reconciles Herself to Calamari

Sure, other states might have squid — but do they have this much of it?

#clams, #cooking-and-cookbooks, #rhode-island, #seafood, #squid, #states-us

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Supreme Court Lets Rhode Island Make Voting by Mail Easier Amid Pandemic

The court rejected a request from Republicans to block an order suspending a requirement that witnesses or a notary observe the completion of absentee ballots.

#coronavirus-2019-ncov, #republican-national-committee, #republican-party, #rhode-island, #supreme-court-us, #united-states-politics-and-government, #voter-registration-and-requirements

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Thinking of Traveling in the U.S.? These States Have Travel Restrictions

A third of states have strict measures in place for visitors, from mandatory testing to quarantine requirements.

#alabama, #alaska, #american-automobile-assn, #automobiles, #boise-idaho, #california, #chicago-ill, #connecticut, #coronavirus-2019-ncov, #coronavirus-reopenings, #delaware, #florida, #georgia, #hawaii, #idaho, #illinois, #indiana, #iowa, #kansas, #louisiana, #maine, #massachusetts, #miami-dade-county-fla, #mississippi, #nevada, #new-england-states-us, #north-carolina, #pennsylvania, #rhode-island, #south-carolina, #states-us, #tennessee, #texas, #travel-and-vacations, #travel-warnings, #utah, #vermont, #wisconsin

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Rhode Island to Remove ‘Plantations’ Reference From Documents

Gov. Gina Raimondo issued an executive order that will remove “Providence Plantations” from state documents and websites. Lawmakers want voters to decide whether to change the state’s official name in November.

#providence-ri, #rhode-island

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Rhode Island Pushes Aggressive Testing, a Move That Could Ease Reopening

The state has seen a rise in cases of the coronavirus, in part, experts say, because it is testing more than many states.

#brown-university, #coronavirus-2019-ncov, #deaths-fatalities, #rhode-island, #tests-medical

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Coronavirus Forces School Districts to Adapt

Schools thrust into turmoil by the coronavirus are slowly finding ways to cope.

#california, #coronavirus-2019-ncov, #e-learning, #education-k-12, #google-inc, #greenville-sc, #miami-dade-county-fla, #minneapolis-minn, #new-hampshire, #philadelphia-pa, #rhode-island

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New York and Boston Pigeons Don’t Mix

The East Coast is made up of two pigeon genetic megacities, and a patch of Connecticut seems to be what’s keeping them apart.

#boston-mass, #carlen-elizabeth, #connecticut, #evolutionary-applications, #genetics-and-heredity, #interstate-95, #new-england-states-us, #new-york-city, #pigeons, #research, #rhode-island, #urban-areas, #your-feed-science

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