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Newport Grand to start rewards program

The Providence Journal (Rhode Island), January 19, 2007

Rite-Solutions, of Middletown, has signed a contract with Newport Grand to design and put into use a comprehensive player tracking and rewards system. The software applications will allow the gaming facility to offer a rewards program to patrons by tracking machine play. Upon state Lottery Commission approval, the system is expected to be rolled out this month. "Newport Grand Rewards allows us to enhance our product offerings and thank our customers who have been loyal to us for the past 30 years," commented Diane Hurley, chief executive officer of Newport Grand. "Rite-Trac was designed as a cost-effective and high-functionality solution for the unique requirements of a gaming establishment that supports the state's lottery," said Jim Lavoie, CEO of Rite-Solutions.

Rite-Solutions worked with Montego Net, of Portsmouth, which designed and manufactured the self-service kiosks at which players may track their Rewards Points balances and promotional offers. ElectroStandards, of Cranston, was contracted to design and implement the network. Allstate Fabricators, also of Cranston, was contracted to design and manufacture the hardware mounting system on the video slot machines. Newport Grand, of Newport, employs 200 people.

Lynch touts state's identity-theft law

The database breach experienced by TJX Cos., the parent company of major stores including T.J. Maxx, Marshalls and HomeGoods, demonstrates the importance of the Identity Theft Protection law that took effect in Rhode Island last March 1, and also of a new law that took effect on Jan. 1, according to Attorney General Patrick C. Lynch. He said the new law thwarts identity thefts by empowering Rhode Island residents to place a security freeze on their credit reports. Lynch said, "Simply put, the law states that any state agency or business, whether Rhode Island-based or not, must notify Rhode Island residents whose identities may be compromised by a security breach in the most reasonable time possible and without reasonable delay. We want to make sure our residents are aware of this, and also that TJX Companies comply with this law, which adds a new and necessary layer of security against identity theft. The quicker that consumers are aware they are victims of identity theft, the more power they have to minimize the awful effects of this crime."

7-Eleven to partner with pro sports teams

Dallas-based 7-Eleven Inc. has signed multiyear sponsorship agreements with 18 professional sports organizations and venues, including teams with the National Football League, Major League Baseball and National Basketball Association. As part of the agreements, the company will provide in-game activities for all home games of the New England Patriots. Financial terms of the agreements were not disclosed, but Jim Andrews, senior vice president with Chicago-based sponsorship firm IEG, said the 7- Eleven sponsorship is certainly one of the most comprehensive initiatives recently announced.

Mass. company gets orders from Army

BAE Systems, of Lexington, Mass., has received two U.S. Army orders totaling $80 million for production of thermal weapon sights. The orders expedite production to meet Army fielding requirements and exercise remaining options under a five-year contract that calls for 29,000 of the day/night, all-weather sights. The Army also awarded BAE Systems financing for advanced technology development that will continue to reduce the size, weight, and cost of future weapon sights. The company received a $35-million contract modification to its Thermal Weapon Sight II (TWS II) contract to accelerate deliveries to meet Army requirements driven by the global war on terrorism. Separately, it received a $45-million order, also under the TWS II effort, to exercise all remaining base and option quantities on the five-year contract, originally awarded in March 2004. The two awards bring the total value of the TWS II contract to $285 million. To date, the company has delivered more than 4,500 of the 29,000 weapon sights.

Timex, Valentino to create luxury watch

Middlebury, Conn.-based Timex Group and Valentino SpA. have signed a licensing agreement for the creation, production and distribution of a premier luxury watch collection worldwide. "Valentino is a legendary brand that continues to experience exceptional growth in the marketplace," said Joe Santana, Timex Group president and chief executive officer. "We are delighted Valentino watches are now part of Timex Group's portfolio. The brand will enhance our offerings in the highest echelons of timepieces." Maison Valentino will continue to contribute to the design of the collection, and will partner with Timex Group to jointly develop projects and long-term leadership in the luxury watch markets. The new line will sport the unique and unmistakable Valentino brand style, placing it in the higher tiers of the market.

N.H. house sellers asking too high a price

Sellers in New Hampshire are asking too much for houses, which is contributing to a market slowdown, an economist told House tax writers Wednesday in Concord. Russ Thibeault of Applied Economic Research, of Laconia, told lawmakers that people want about 10 percent to 15 percent more than what most people can afford to pay for a house. Thibeault said sales began slowing in April. To try to attract buyers, sellers began dropping prices in August, he said. Prices have dropped roughly 5 percent over the past year, he said. But some sellers pulled their properties off the market to wait for a more favorable time, Thibeault said. He said the conditions that created the slowdown are unusual since unemployment and inflation are low, and the state continues to add jobs.

Vt. governor opposes dairy subsidy program

Vermont Gov. Jim Douglas says he won't support legislation to extend the state's dairy subsidy program for another six months because the $8-million price tag is too steep. "I certainly support helping our dairy farmers, but I don't know where those legislators propose to find that money in the current or next year's general fund budget," Douglas said. "The budget's going to be very tight next year, very modest increase, more modest than in the recent past, and our revenue performance is not as strong as it's been." Last year, the legislature and Douglas engineered an $8.6-million special subsidy to help dairy farmers deal with crop losses, higher energy costs and low milk prices. The program ended on Dec. 31. Congress had been expected to pass an emergency disaster relief bill that would have sent $54 million to Vermont farmers, but that didn't happen. So state lawmakers proposed extending the program on their own.

Maine group to help with land easement

The Land for Maine's Future board has unanimously approved a $1.25-million grant to help finance a conservation easement on more than 37,000 acres of Appalachian Mountain Club land near Moosehead Lake. Tuesday's approval came despite concerns raised by some snowmobilers, professional guides and sporting camp owners. The AMC bought the Katahdin Iron Works property from International Paper Co. in 2003 for $14 million. The state money approved by the board will be combined with more than $4 million in federal assistance to purchase the conservation easement.

Around Rhode Island

Business Education Publishing, of Warwick, has released a new, interactive board game - Keyboarding Trivia - designed to take students temporarily away from the keyboard while reinforcing letter-key memory.