1878 Bell note with phone sketch for sale

CONCORD, N.H. — A New Hampshire dealer is auctioning a letter from Alexander Graham Bell to his parents instructing them to ground the telephone he invented by running a copper wire from their house to the duck pond.

The seven-page letter written in 1878 contains two drawings by Graham of the phone and how to run its elaborate wiring system to avoid harm from lightning strikes.

The vice president of RRAuction in Amherst says the letter is historically significant because of Bell’s detailed discussion and drawings.

It was written just two years after Bell obtained the patent on the telephone and made his first call to assistant Thomas Watson.

Online bidding for the letter topped $17,000 Thursday. Livingston expects the bidding could reach as much as $80,000 by the auction’s end Jan. 18.

Target cuts outlook as Dec. misses mark

NEW YORK — Target lowered its earnings expectations Thursday following a disappointing December, with consumers waiting until the last minute to shop as well as weak sales of electronics.

Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. has also come on strong, forcing prices lower at the expense of competitors.

Revenue at stores open at least a year rose 1.6 percent. That missed analyst expectations for a 3.1 percent increase, according to Thomson Reuters. Target’s stock fell 3.4 percent, or $1.70, to $48.30 in afternoon trading.

Revenue at stores open at least a year is considered a key measure of a retailer’s financial health because it excludes volatility from stores that open or close.

Strong grocery and beauty product sales offset weakness in electronics, movies, books and music, the company said.

RI lawmaker saysno to Quonset casino

PROVIDENCE, R.I. — A Rhode Island state lawmaker says he opposes the idea of building a casino at Quonset Point.

Sen. James Sheehan of North Kingstown says he worries about the impact a large casino would have on his town. He says redevelopment efforts at Quonset, a former naval base, are already proceeding and that most North Kingstown residents would oppose adding a casino.

Two lawmakers — Rep. John Carnevale and Rep. Joseph Trillo — have floated Quonset Point as a good location for casino. Carnevale notes the area boasts nearby highways, an airport and a dock that can accommodate cruise ships.

Rhode Island leaders are considering various gambling proposals after Massachusetts authorized casinos.

Compiled from wire reports

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