The Boston Globe from Boston, Massachusetts on December 6, 2017 · B10
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The Boston Globe from Boston, Massachusetts · B10

Boston, Massachusetts
Issue Date:
Wednesday, December 6, 2017
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BIO Business The Boston Globe WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 6, 2017 Outdoors retailers slam Trump action By Abha Bhattarai WASHINGTON POST WASHINGTON - Outdoor goods retailers Patagonia, REI, and the North Face are firing back against President Trump's executive order this week that would drastically reduce the size of two national monuments in Utah. "The president stole your land," reads an overlay on Patagonia's website posted Monday afternoon. "This is the largest elimination of protected land in American history." The California-based retailer has long been known for its envi-ronmental activism, but this week's political stance and a promise by its founder to sue the Trump administration represents a shift, experts say, in how corporations are speaking up, not just on behalf of their executives and employees, but also their customers. "This is a sea change in activism like nothing I've ever seen," said Leslie Gaines-Ross, chief reputation strategist at public relations firm Weber Shandwick. "CEOs are not just raising flags anymore, they're actually taking action and asking their customers to do the same." REI said on its website it would "continue to advocate for the places we all love," and urged its Twitter followers to change their profile photos to an icon that says "We heart our public lands." The North Face, meanwhile, announced it is donating $100,000 to develop a Bears Ears Education Center, and encouraged customers to contribute to a Kickstarter campaign to create it. As of Tuesday afternoon, it had raised nearly $124,000 from 1,700 people. Trump said on Monday that he would cut 2 million acres in public land as part of an effort to "reverse federal overreach." Bears Ears, which was established a year ago by President Barack Obama, would be slashed by 85 percent, while Grand Staircase-Escalante, established in 1996 by RICK BOWMER ASSOCIATED PRESS President Bill Clinton, would be cut by nearly half. "Some people think that the natural resources of Utah should be controlled by a small handful of very distant bureaucrats located in Washington," he said at a rally in Salt Lake City. 'And guess what? They're wrong." Yvon Chouinard, who founded Patagonia in 1973, begs to differ. The billionaire owner, who has spent the past four decades building a company focused on environmental issues and worker well-being, says he plans to take legal action against Trump. "I'm going to sue him," Chouinard told CNN. "It's a shame that only 4 percent of American lands are national parks. We need more, not less. This government is evil and I'm not going to sit back and let evil win." Chouinard stumbled into business by accident when, as a teenager, he began making his own steel tools for climbing. The metal spikes were so effective that he soon began selling them to friends. By the 1970s, he had expanded into clothing. Today, the company sells a range of outdoors gear and recreational items. It has 2,200 employees and more than $800 million in annual revenue. As the company has grown, Chouinard has continued to focus on employee well-being. Workers are encouraged to set their own hours, and the company was one of the first in the country to offer on-site child-care. Patagonia along with REI, the North Face, and many others earlier this year signed an open letter criticizing Trump's decision to pull out of the Paris Climate Accord. "This is a company that knows exactly what it stands for," said Anthony Johndrow, chief executive of a reputation advisory firm in New York. "They've already established what their values are, so when something like this comes down the line, they don't have to think twice before they act." Earlier this year, Patagonia took out its first-ever commercial a one-minute television spot in which Chouinard talks about the importance of preserving national parks. "Public lands have never been more threatened than right now," he says in the ad. "This belongs to us, this belongs to all of the people in America." On Monday, Patagonia's chief executive doubled down on that message. "The administration's unlawful actions betray our shared responsibility to protect iconic places for future generations and represent the largest elimination of protected land in American history," Rose Marcario said in a statement. "We've fought to protect these places since we were founded and now we'll continue that fight in the courts." The "Moonhouse" in McLoyd Canyon, part of Bears Ears National Monument, near Blanding, Utah. President Trump's executive order to dramatically reduce the size of Bear's Ears and another national monument is being criticized by outdoor goods retailers Patagonia, REI, and the North Face. UK firm to acquire US theaters By Chad Bray NEW YORK TIMES LONDON - The two largest movie theater chains in the United States will soon be owned by foreign companies. British movie theater owner Cineworld said Tuesday it had agreed to acquire Regal Entertainment Group, one of the biggest cinema operators in the United States, for $3.6 billion. The deal would greatly expand the scale and geographic footprint of Cineworld, which primarily operates in Europe, and create the world's second-largest movie theater owner to better compete with AMC Entertainment, which is owned by Chinese conglomerate Dalian Wanda. The Cineworld-Regal combination would create a company with more than 9,500 screens in 10 countries. It comes at a time of flux for operators of movie theaters competing for attention and dollars in an increasingly saturated marketplace. At the same time, stu dios, such as The Walt Disney Co., are exerting more control over when and how their biggest films are shown, putting pressure on operators. And despite higher average ticket prices, box office revenue is down in the United States this year after a dismal summer. The few standouts were the superhero flicks, "Wonder Woman," "Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2," and "Spider-Man: Homecoming." The latest adaptation of Stephen King's "It" was also a bright spot this autumn, but "Justice League," which brought together some of DC Comics' biggest heroes, opened to disappointing re-sults in North America last month. Ticket sales are likely to be bolstered by the release of "Star Wars: The Last Jedi" later this month. "Regal is a great business and provides Cineworld with the optimal platform on which we can continue our growth strategy," Mooky Greidinger, Cineworld chief executive, said in news release. "Consolidation is an important move forward, and the best practice we have successfully rolled out across Europe will be the key driver to continued success." Under the terms of the deal, Cineworld would pay $23 a share in cash for Regal. Shares of Regal closed Monday at $20.73 a share. Regal is the second-biggest cinema operator in the United States behind AMC, with 7,315 screens at 561 cinemas. Regal is controlled by billionaire Philip F. Anschutz's Anschutz Corp., which has agreed to support the deal. Cineworld, which was founded in 1995 in Britain, is the second-largest movie theater chain in Europe, after AMC, with 2,227 screens at 232 sites in Europe and Israel. It reported revenue of 798 million pounds (about $1.1 billion) in its 2016 financial year. Regal's theater brands include Regal Cinemas, United Artists, and Hollywood Theaters. It re- f'' "''"fy " ' t IffllBHHBSni DON DAVIS JR.THE HIGtl puiw l enterprise via appile zuil ported revenue of $3.2 billion in fiscal year 2016. Amy Miles, Regal chief executive, said the offer represented "a meaningful premium on Regal's unaffected share price" and provided "compelling value for our stockholders." Cineworld would pay $23 a share in cash for Regal. (Above) Regal's Palladium Cinemas in High Point, N.C. Workers tested to understand patients' diet experience AKCEA Continued from Page B9 will almost certainly carry a six-figure price tag in the United States, Soteropoulos said, because it would treat a disorder so rare that the federal government has deemed it an "orphan disease." The designation gives companies generous financial incentives to come up with treatments, including a seven-year lock on the market. In the meantime, several Ak-cea employees have agreed to follow a stringent FCS diet, consuming no more than 10 grams of fat a day, about 2V2 pats of butter. They include Jim Dion, head of global training and development. Dion said he was partly motivated by a recent breakfast meeting at a Cambridge hotel that included people with the disorder. He noticed a middle-aged woman eating a bland breakfast of egg whites, oatmeal, and black coffee as was her husband, in a show of support. "This disease doesn't impact just the patient, it's the whole family," he said. Dion, 52, loves Mexican food and an occasional glass of wine with dinner, but that's off limits under the FCS diet. Also planning to go bland is Alexa Schafer, a 29-year-old administrative assistant. She's a foodie married to the executive chef at State Street Corp., the financial advising firm, and likes breakfasts of scrambled eggs with sweet potatoes, avocado, and salsa. She will swap that for egg whites, a whole grain bagel, and an apple. It's hardly unusual for people with rare diseases to meet the scientists working on treatments or potential cures. Indeed, close relationships between patients and pharmaceutical firms have occasionally raised concerns about conflicts of interests, such as when companies donate to patient advocacy groups seeking faster FDA approval of drugs. 'This disease doesn't impact just the patient, it's the whole family.' JIM DION Akcea's head of global training and development, on following a stringent diet faced by Familial Chylomicronemia Syndrome patients. But patients and drug makers say such interactions also have intangible benefits. For example, in March, Sarah Griffiths and her 6-year-old daughter, Mamie Borchert, accompanied Griffiths's husband, Don Borchert, on a business trip to Boston. From their hotel they saw a building bearing the Vertex Pharmaceuticals logo, which is on the packaging of the Orkambi pills Mamie had been taking for three months to treat her cystic fibrosis. When the girl asked her mom whether they could visit, Griffiths called Vertex, and an employee set it up. The family spent two hours at Vertex's headquarters, where employees explained how Mamie's pink pills are made and let her wear a white lab coat and safety goggles and play Pac Man in a game room. "It was a very powerful experience," said Griffiths, of Falmouth, Maine. "Every person in that building was working toward a cure for my kid's disease." Several officials in the state's booming biotech industry couldn't come up with a parallel to the Akcea effort, which also includes a webinar on Dec. 12 and 15 for FCS patients to learn more about maintaining a healthy diet during the holiday season. Nicole McCoy, a resident of suburban Charlotte, N.C, who has been hospitalized 34 times with pancreatitis over the past 15 years because of FCS, was delighted that employees will get a better appreciation for her diet. McCoy has sometimes subsisted on pureed vegetables, but even that unappetizing diet hasn't always prevented her from developing pancreatitis. "If you go out or go to someone's home, it's very difficult," said McCoy, 46, who also has diabetes. "I can't just pull in the drive-through and order what I want." Jonathan Saltzman can be reached Six nursing homes will close in state NURSING HOMES Continued from Page B9 the residents. The process is monitored by the state Department of Public Health. These are the nursing homes that are closing: Kindred Transitional Care & Rehabilitation-Highgate, in Ded-ham; Kindred Transitional Care & Rehabilitation-Avery, in Needham; Kindred Nursing & Rehabilitation-Tower Hill, in Canton; Kindred Nursing & Rehabilita-tion-Harborlights, in South Boston; Heritage Nursing Care Center, in Lowell; Vibra Nursing and Rehabilitation Center of Western Massachusetts, in Springfield. Additionally, Kindred Living-Needham Heights, an assisted living facility, plans to close. And on Nov. 17, the Ill-bed Walden Health and Rehabilitation Center in Concord shut its doors. Tim Foley, assistant division director at 1199SEIU United Healthcare Workers East, expressed concerns about the "enormous strain" the closures will cause workers who will be laid off, some 200 of whom are members of his union. "Massachusetts nursing home sales and closures have accelerated at a rapid pace in recent years, and highlight why more stringent oversight of nursing home licensing, ownership and operations is so critical," Foley said in a statement. Kindred Healthcare, a Louisville, Ky.-based company focused on patients recovering from illness or injury, announced more than a year ago that it wanted to sell off its nursing homes and has so far sold 80. The company revealed in a press release Friday that it would shut down the five Massachusetts facilities. A Kindred spokeswoman did not answer a question about why the facilities were closing, except to say that it was a "strategic decision" made with regret. Kindred expects the nursing homes and assisted living facility to continue operating, managed by Next Step Healthcare, until late March 2018. "This has not been an easy decision for any of the parties or individuals involved. We have served the community for many years, and it has been an honor and a privilege," Susan E. Moss, Kindred's senior vice president of marketing and communications, said in an e-mail. She said Kindred and Next Step will arrange for residents and their families to visit other facilities and will pay for moving expenses. The company also pledged to help employees find new jobs. Heritage Nursing Care Center in Lowell, which is owned by Pennsylvania-based Genesis Healthcare, notified the state on Nov. 27 of its plans to close. Spokeswoman Jeanne Moore said in an e-mail that the facility "needs significant renovations to keep up with the standards that our patients and families expect." Heritage has also seen a decline in referrals and patient census, Moore said. Only 115 of its 142 beds are currently occupied. Heritage, one of 31 facilities that Genesis operates in the state, employs about 114 full-time, part-time, and per-diem employees, Moore said. A public hearing on Heritage's closing has been scheduled for Dec. 19 at 2 p.m. at the facility, 841 Merrimack St., Lowell. The Massachusetts Senior Care Association, which represents nursing homes and other elder-care facilities, blamed the closures on "significant underfunding" by the state's Medicaid program, MassHealth, which pays for the care of 70 percent of nursing home residents. The association said in a statement that the closings signal "an industry on the brink of collapse" and predicted that more closures are possible. But Elissa Snook, spokeswoman for the state Executive Office of Health and Human Services, said MassHealth has increased payments to nursing facilities by $45 million. The trend now, however, is for people to stay in their communities instead, she said. These days, three-quarters of MassHealth's spending on long-term care pays for community-based services and supports, she said. Felice J. Freyer can be reached at Follow her on Twitter felicejfreyer.

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