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Are retailers ready for federal regulations on drones? Amazon is.

BY Mike Troy

NEW YORK — Federal regulations governing unmanned aircraft systems, or drones, will be in place by this time next year.

Most retailers won’t be ready, but Amazon says it will be as soon as the feds are. Testifying at a congressional hearing on June 17, Paul Misener, Amazon.com’s VP of global public policy told lawmakers it would be ready to deliver packages via its service branded as Prime Air as soon as federal rules are in place.

"We'd like to begin delivering to our customers as soon as it's approved," Misener said during the meeting. "We will have (the technology) in place by the time any regulations are ready. We are working very quickly."

At hearings held earlier this year Misener chastised regulators for not moving more quickly to implement regulations concerning the use of unmanned aircraft for commercial deliveries. Amazon also previously indicated its Prime Air service will allow for delivery of packages within 30 minutes.

Regulations proposed by the Federal Aviation Administration back in February were very restrictive, allowed drones to be flown only during daylight hours and by operators who maintained a line of site with the vehicle.

Obviously, such a scenario would be problematic for Amazon.com or other retailers contemplating the use of unmanned aircraft, so the FAA has gone back to the drawing board to craft rules that it is presumed will allow for vehicles to fly autonomously over greater distances.

“The rule will be in place within the year,” said FAA deputy administrator Michael Whitaker at the hearing held by the House Oversight Committee.

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Is A&P supermarket chain poised for sale?

BY DSN STAFF

MONTVALE, N.J. — The Great Atlantic & Pacific Tea Co. is actively shopping 137 of its stores, including 10 Food Emporium locations in New York City, according to the New York Post.

A&P, which emerged from bankruptcy protection in 2012, told The Record newspaper on June 16 that the company continues to weigh its options and that it is exploring strategic alternatives.

Read more by clicking here.

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MinuteClinic opens first clinic in Topeka

BY Antoinette Alexander

WOONSOCKET, R.I. — The first MinuteClinic walk-in medical clinic in Topeka, Kan., opened Wednesday inside the CVS/pharmacy store, joining 11 additional clinic locations in the state.

Topeka Mayor Larry Wolgast joined CVS Health and MinuteClinic executives at the grand opening.

"Targeted expansion into markets like Topeka brings high-quality, convenient and affordable health care services to community members," stated Andrew Sussman, president, MinuteClinic and EVP/associate chief medical officer, CVS Health.  "There is a need for more accessible and affordable health care in Kansas, and the demand for MinuteClinic services will continue to grow due, in part, to the shortage of primary care physicians, the aging Baby Boomer population and the influx of newly insured patients through the Affordable Care Act."

Nancy Zaner, MinuteClinic Midwest area director, said that MinuteClinic is committed to helping patients find a medical home and believes it can play a complementary role in working with primary care providers.

"About 50% of MinuteClinic visits occur on evenings, weekends and holidays when patients may not be able to get an appointment with their primary care provider," Zaner stated. "And about half of the patients seen at MinuteClinic are 'medically homeless' and do not have a personal physician."
 

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