[syndicated profile] sjmerc_local_feed

Posted by Tracey Kaplan

MORGAN HILL — A Santa Clara County judge declared a mistrial Tuesday after the jury couldn’t decide reach a verdict on whether a jail guard committed assault with a deadly weapon when he kicked an inmate in the head while the man was lying face down on the floor with two other guards over him.

The outcome of the trial of former correctional officer Thanh Hung Tri was not unexpected. On the first full day of deliberations Monday, the jurors left early after reporting to the judge that they were stuck 11 to 1 on the second charge — assault under color of authority. The lone holdout, a man, had sworn at one of the other jurors, a note to the judge said.

By midday Tuesday, that juror had sent a note to the judge saying he felt like he was being held hostage. He was the only juror who voted to convict Tri of the 2103 alleged assault; the other 11 voted to acquit him.

It was not immediately clear whether the District Attorney’s Office will try the case, but the decision is often based partly on how many jurors voted to convict. The case also was never considered particularly strong; prosecutors initially declined in 2014 to file charges against Tri “due to lack of jury appeal,” a sheriff’s spokesman said last week.

The Sheriff’s Office resubmitted the case in late 2015, after three jail guards beat a mentally ill inmate to death, and Rosen’s office then filed charges last July.

Another factor that may affect the retrial decision, a female juror last week during closing arguments felt so strongly about Tri’s innocence that she loudly exclaimed “yeah,” in support of an objection made by Tri’s defense attorney during the prosecution’s rebuttal. Despite the woman’s outburst, Judge Paul R. Bernal declined to replace her with an alternate juror after the woman insisted she could still be fair during deliberations.

Tri was fired by Sheriff Laurie Smith after the 2013 incident, which left inmate Danny Jackson with fractured sinus bones and two facial cuts on his face that required stitches.

During the trial, prosecutor John Chase contended that Tri used unreasonable force by allegedly kicking or stomping Jackson in the head and face. At the time, Jackson was either straddled or being held down by two officers, including correctional deputy Kala Bragg, who is 6-feet-5-inches tall and outweighed Jackson by about 95 pounds.

Bragg, a witness for the defense, testified that he did not see Tri strike Jackson. But under cross-examination by Chase, he acknowledged that he wrote a report saying that Tri had kicked the inmate in the head he and Tri talked about what had happened.

Officers are trained to avoid hitting an inmate in the head unless they are under serious threat.

Defense attorney Erin M. Dervin contended that Tri acted in defense of himself and the other officers after Bragg pressed an emergency button summoning Tri and other officers to the scene.

Bragg said he pressed the button even though Jackson hadn’t attacked him physically because he felt threatened when the inmate refused to back off after getting physically “in my face.”

Tri’s trial was held in Morgan Hill rather than San Jose, where the Oct. 3, 2013 incident took place, because a judge was available in the South County courthouse.

The case was part of an unprecedented wave of prosecution in the two years since three officers beat mentally ill inmate Michael Tyree to death. Altogether, District Attorney Jeff Rosen’s office has charged six jail guards in three excessive force cases, an unrivaled number spurred by the fatal beating in August 2015 of mentally ill inmate Michael Tyree.

Last month, a jury convicted the three jail guards of Tyree’s murder, and they now face 15 years to life in prison.

In a separate case, two other guards now face assault charges in the beating of a shackled inmate about a month before Tyree died. That case, against correctional deputies Phillip Abecendario and Tuan Le, could go to trial late this year or early next year.


[syndicated profile] sjmerc_opinion_feed

Posted by Mercury News Editorial Board

The California Air Resources Board still has work to do before approving Volkswagen’s plan for spending the $800 million settlement of its diesel emissions scandal.

Volkswagen submitted a revised plan June 29 to achieve CARB’s goal of using the money to build California’s growing zero-emission automobile market — but not only to benefit Volkswagen. The agency will meet Thursday to consider whether to approve the disgraced automaker’s latest revisions.

The update is a significant improvement, but CARB should not approve it until Volkswagen agrees to commit 35 percent of its investments to chargers in low-income communities. It’s not good enough for the company to say it “anticipates” spending 35 percent in disadvantaged areas of California. Volkswagen maintains that the original settlement allows its investment to be “guided by business need.”

Volkswagen proved it couldn’t be trusted when it admitted to committing one of the biggest frauds in the history of the auto industry, installing software on hundreds of thousands of cars enabling them to cheat on emissions tests over six years.

CARB has agreed that Volkswagen can use the $800 million settlement to make a profit in California, but the primary focus should be on public benefit. It shouldn’t let Volkswagen squirm out of investing in chargers to serve low-income areas, which disproportionately suffer from air pollution.

Volkswagen naturally would prefer to invest in wealthy areas that promise higher profits. It doesn’t share the air board’s interest in doing everything possible to encourage Californians to go green.

Volkswagen’s original plan was to locate charging stations “first in the areas with the highest anticipated ZEV demand.” Hello Palo Alto, Beverly Hills and La Jolla. Goodbye Bakersfield, San Bernardino and Riverside.

Volkswagen’s revised plan added Fresno, a poorer Central Valley city, to its list of five metropolitan areas targeted for community charging facilities. But it makes no commitment to follow through on the plans to serve disadvantaged areas , especially in the early phases of spending about $120 million building electric charging stations.

California has a major stake in this. Gov. Jerry Brown has set a goal of 1 million electric vehicles on California roads by 2020. Meeting it will require that charging stations be readily available and that the cost of electric vehicles continues to drop.

The state currently has nearly 300,000 electric vehicles on the road, and more than 40,000 new ones were sold to Californians in 2016, up from 35,000 in 2015. But meeting the goal will require getting more than just the rich into electric cars.

The California Air Resources Board needs to do its part to boost electric vehicle infrastructure throughout the state while it still has leverage over Volkswagen. Forcing the automaker to commit to investing 35 percent of its chargers in disadvantaged communities is in the best interests of all Californians — and perfectly reasonable to ask of a company craven enough to deliberately dodge anti-pollution rules.

[syndicated profile] sjmerc_opinion_feed

Posted by Carolyn Coleman

Earlier this year, California’s governor and Legislature took an important step toward fixing California’s crumbling roads, highways and bridges when they passed SB 1, a $52 billion infrastructure funding package.

The American Society of Civil Engineers have estimated that it costs each driver $844 per year in vehicle damage and wear and tear due to the deteriorated condition of the road network. SB 1 was an essential step in lowering these hidden costs and protecting transportation investments already made by Californians.

SB 1 will nearly double the annual amount cities receive to maintain their local streets and roads, helping close the $70 billion gap in unmet funding needs over the next 10 years.

Despite this lesson, some policymakers in Congress are considering a proposal to significantly increase maximum truck weights on Interstate highways from the current limit of 80,000 pounds to 91,000 pounds. Similar proposals have been repeatedly rejected in recent years, including a 2015 effort when the U.S. House defeated an amendment to allow 91,000-pound trucks by a resounding 187-236 vote.

The danger is even more acute when it comes to bridges. These weight increases could cause bridge failure, which would be catastrophic. California has many bridges over 50 years old that typically were not designed for trucks this heavy. Allowing this increase will accelerate their deterioration, adding to an already serious statewide problem.

The reasons to oppose bigger trucks are quantifiable and well documented. According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, today’s 80,000-pound trucks only pay for about 80 percent of the damage they inflict, which amounts to a $1.9 billion federal government subsidy for heavy truck operations annually. Trucks weighing 91,000 pounds would only pay for about 55 percent of their damage.

Proponents of the weight increase claim that heavier trucks would reduce the overall number of trucks on the road, yet history suggests otherwise. Since Congress last raised the federal weight limit for trucks in 1982, truck registrations and mileage have only increased.

Cities understand that as populations increase along with commerce, these sorts of claims won’t hold true.  It is therefore incumbent upon Congress to closely scrutinize such claims, given this history. The consequences for California motorists are significant when considering the increased congestion, road and bridge deterioration, air pollution and public safety hazards.

The interests lobbying for heavier trucks say this is merely a 10-state “pilot project” for the next 15 years. In reality, these interest groups want heavier trucks nationwide, and the repercussions will affect all of us in California, where the majority of the roadway network is in fair to poor condition and over half our bridges are over 50 years old.

Nationally, 91,000-pound, six-axle trucks would negatively impact more than 4,800 national highway system bridges, costing $1.1 billion, according to the transportation department.

The League of California Cities champions smart solutions like SB 1 and opposes efforts that threaten the health of our transportation infrastructure. Congress should say “no” to heavier trucks and work instead to protect these overdue investments that are finally being made here in California.

This is no time to support policies that put California’s roads and bridges at risk and exacerbate congestion, pollution and unsafe conditions — and that could cost our nation billions of dollars over the next decade.

Carolyn Coleman is Executive Director of the League of California Cities. She wrote this for The Mercury News. 



[syndicated profile] sjmerc_opinion_feed

Posted by Garrison Keillor


At the age of 75, I’m coming to realize that I may never know for certain what happened to Amelia Earhart and her navigator Fred Noonan on their round-the-world flight that disappeared in the South Pacific in July 1937. I have been in love with her forever and it’s painful to have no resolution, only the same old theories.

Like Hansel and Gretel disappear into the woods and some think they got baked by the witch and others think they were deadly allergic to gingerbread containing glutens. I like to think Amelia was rescued by Howard Hughes and lived with him secretly at the Royal Flush in Las Vegas, had a child, and gave him up for adoption by my parents John and Grace Keillor in Anoka, Minnesota, but it’s a theory based on alternative facts and has been suppressed until now.

A recent TV documentary tries to prove she crashed and was captured by the Japanese and it brings forth a blurry photograph of a dock on Jaluit Atoll in the Marshall Islands and a slight woman with short-cropped hair sitting, her back to the camera, a hundred feet away, who purportedly is our Amelia. We want it to be her, but it could also be your Aunt Sadie of Schenectady. Meanwhile, a Japanese gentleman comes along to say he spotted that very photograph in a book published in 1935, two years before the flight.

It is hard to believe that one of the most famous women in the world could walk away from a crash in a populated area, then vanish without anyone taking note. Very hard.

I can live with the mystery of Jimmy Hoffa’s disappearance — he’s gone, it’s done, bada bing, bada boom. I don’t care about the identity of Jack the Ripper. I am satisfied that Lee Harvey Oswald fired the shots that day in Dallas. It matters little if Edward de Vere or Christopher Marlowe or the Duke of Earl wrote Shakespeare’s plays, let’s just enjoy them. My faith in the Resurrection does not depend on the authenticity of the Shroud of Turin. Bigfoot is a fake, ditto the Loch Ness Monster. D.B. Cooper died; parachutes are no cinch for jumping out of a jetliner and into a national forest. Stonehenge is a circle of ancient stone blocks erected by some people for some purpose, probably religious: I don’t need to know any more.

But I need to know about Amelia. She was a sweetheart, a Kansas tomboy who was not out to make a statement so much as she simply loved to fly and feel the wind in her hair. In newsreels, she grins as she climbs out of cockpits, a dashing feminist in the Age of Dowagers. She wore pants. She was lithe and limber. She enjoyed her fame. She flew solo across the Atlantic, solo from Hawaii to California, she was the forerunner of the spirited feminists we’ve known and loved, who bore no grudge against men but prevailed thanks to wit and smarts and perseverance and a terrific smile.

OK, she was not a great pilot. She was careless at times. She was a self-promoter who married her publicity guy and agent. She used her fame to pitch Lucky Strike cigarettes, Beech-Nut chewing gum, Longines watches, Mobil Oil and her own line of women’s clothing. She was no Dorothy Day or Pearl Buck.

I forgive her all of that for her gumption, her ebullient spirit in the midst of the Great Depression, and also for the fact that, in 1913, when she was 17, she lived in St. Paul, a few blocks from where I live, and attended Central High, as her alcoholic father struggled to hold onto his job at the Great Northern Railroad.

In fact, 1913 was the year my dad was born. I am not putting forth the theory that the 17-year-old Amelia moved to St. Paul to hide her pregnancy and that she gave up the boy to my grandparents Dora and James Keillor of Anoka, but the truth is that Dad was more glamorous than anyone else in his family, obviously an import. He had a big romance with my mother and they eloped in 1937, the year the plane went down. Mere coincidence? We may never know for sure. The past is wreathed in shadows as we fly on into the mists, looking for an island that according to our maps is somewhere out ahead and if not, we will be swallowed up by history. May it be kind to us all.

Garrison Keillor is an author and radio personality.

[syndicated profile] sjmerc_local_feed

Posted by Rex Crum

Top of the Order:  

Who’s Watching What: There’s no denying that TV ratings aren’t quite what they used to be. Back in the day, there were just ABC, CBS and NBC, and when a show like M*A*S*H was on, you knew there was a good chance that one of out every three homes was watching Hawkeye Pierce & Co. The final episode of M*A*S*H, in 1983, pulled in almost 106 million viewers, and was the most-watched show in American history for 27 years, until Super Bowl XLIV topped it in 2010.

Now, well, there are hundreds of TV networks to choose from, some of which people actually watch. And then there are all the over-the-top internet streaming services that draw in viewers. The viewership has been cut into so many pieces that what qualifies as a “hit” show today would probably be on the chopping block back when M*A*S*H was ruling the airwaves.

But, ratings still matter, for show creators, networks and advertisers. And all the changes in how people watch TV — including the rise of DVRs, which let you skip right through commercials in recorded programs — make ratings a precious commodity to everyone involved.

So, with the changes in how people watch TV, it makes sense that new methods for tracking program ratings have come out, too. And on Tuesday, Nielsen, which has tracked TV show ratings for decades, said it will now include programs watched on the “skinny” bundle offerings from Hulu Live TV and YouTube TV in their ratings measurements. It’s the first time Nielsen has started including viewership from one of the new non-cable or satellite TV services in its ratings calculations.

YouTube launched its TV bundle, which includes local broadcast channels, in 15 markets in April, while Hulu Live TV began offering its bundle of live TV channels in May.

“We can now provide a more accurate and comprehensive audience view, enabling our clients and the broader industry to more effectively monetize content across platforms,” Nielsen said, in a statement about including Hulu and YouTube in its ratings calculations.

What Nielsen means by “monetize content across platforms” is “help advertisers figure out how much they should be paying for their ads on TV and other devices.”

Nielsen said it will track viewership of programs over the service occurring within three or seven days from when a show first airs in its regular TV time slot. The data will be used in the ratings that Nielsen provides to networks, who then use the information to sell commercial ad time.

It might not mean that a program even as popular as “The Walking Dead” will come close to the viewership of Super Bowl XLIX and its 120.7 million viewers, but it may help give a better idea of how well the skinny bundles are doing as they fight to lure customers away from Big Cable.

Middle Innings:

Is Elon vs. Mark on the Way?: Elon Musk, never one to avoid Twitter when he has something he thinks is worth saying, got online and started what could be a nice, new spat with Facebook Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg over who knows the most about artificial intelligence. It actually started when Zuckerberg posted a video on the subject over the weekend (while he was smoking some meat in his backyard), and Musk felt the need to reply in kind.

Bottom of the Lineup:

A Lyft For Your Munchies: It’s late at night. You’ve been partying a bit. Maybe a lot. And now you want something to eat. Well, Lyft has you covered, as the ride-sharing service is launching a test of what it calls Taco Mode, in which a rider can use an option within the Lyft app to make a pit stop, if you will, at a Taco Bell on the way home. Lyft is testing the service July 27-30 and Aug. 3-6 in Orange County.

Quote of the Day: “If there’s anything we learned, it’s that after 32 years, MS Paint has a lot of fans.” — Microsoft, in a blog post in which the company said it was not killing off its popular MS Paint program, which will be available as a free app download from Microsoft’s Windows Store.

Sign up for the 60-Second Business Break newsletter at www.siliconvalley.com.

[syndicated profile] sjmerc_local_feed

Posted by Ivan Moreno, Associated Press


A Wisconsin company is offering to microchip its employees, enabling them to open doors, log onto their computers and purchase break room snacks with a simple swipe of the hand.

Three Square Market, also known as 32M, said more than 50 employees are voluntarily getting implants Aug. 1 at what the company is calling a “chip party” at its River Falls headquarters. The chips are the size of a grain of rice and are inserted underneath the skin between the thumb and forefinger using a syringe. The procedure takes a couple of seconds.

The technology is already available in Europe but company leaders say this is its first appearance in the U.S. They hope the $300 microchips can eventually be used on more than just snack machines — everything from air travel, public transit and storing medical information.

“We want to be on the forefront of this. This is something’s that’s coming,” said Curt Giles, president at 32M, which operates 2,000 self-checkout kiosks for companies in 20 countries. The company is partnering with Sweden’s BioHax International, where employees have been using the implants. Three Square Market is paying for the employees’ microchips.

While the technology has raised privacy concerns because of the potential to track a person’s whereabouts and purchases, officials at 32M said the data in the microchip is encrypted and does not use GPS. But a professor at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee said he worries about the potential for “function creep,” where the stated purpose of a technology ends up spilling over into other uses, including surveillance.

“This is one of those technologies that sound like it might create some kind of efficiency, but to me the downside is just too great,” said Michael Zimmer, who teaches internet ethics and privacy at the college’s School of Information Studies.

Zimmer said what 32M is trying to achieve can be done through less invasive means, like with an iPhone app.

“Part of my general concern is that we don’t go too fast and that we understand the implications of these sorts of (technologies), which is why it’s good we’re having this conversation,” he said.

Giles and other company executives say they’re having microchips implanted themselves next week but understand employees who don’t want to do it. About 85 people work at 32M.

“We have employees who have said, ‘I just don’t want to do it.’ And we 100 percent respect that,” said Tony Danna, vice president of international development. Danna said the microchips can be easily removed in seconds, “just as if you were taking a sliver out of your finger.”

The company is using the microchips in-house for now but other organizations have expressed interest in recent days, including a hospital chain, said Patrick McMullan, chief operating officer. He said he could not reveal the names of those who have expressed interest.

“We need to be responsible with this. This is not something you can do fast,” McMullan said. “It has to be done right. You have to proceed slowly.”

[syndicated profile] sjmerc_local_feed

Posted by Martin Crutsinger, Associated Press

WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump says he’s considering either re-nominating Janet Yellen for a second term as Fed chair or replacing her with someone else, possibly Gary Cohn, who leads his National Economic Council.

Trump says in an interview with the Wall Street Journal that he has a “lot of respect” for Yellen and thinks she is serving capably. The president says he’s still considering asking her to serve four more years after her term ends in February.

But he says he’s also considering other candidates, including Cohn, who joined the Trump administration after a 26-year career at Goldman Sachs.

Yellen has declined to say whether she wants to serve another term.

Trump says Cohn, who was present for the interview, didn’t know he was under consideration for the Fed job.

[syndicated profile] snopes_feed

Posted by Bethania Palma

An article reporting that a federal judge had implemented "sharia law" in the United States is fake news that was originally posted on a satire site.
[syndicated profile] snopes_feed

Posted by Dan Evon

An image purportedly showing a missive from White House communications director Anthony Scaramucci was digitally manipulated.


Jul. 25th, 2017 05:42 pm
twistedchick: General Leia in The Force Awakens (Default)
[personal profile] twistedchick
Senate vote to proceed toward removing the Affordable Care Act: 51-50. That's 51 votes against health care in America.

This is not the final word on the matter-- keep yelling, talking, chanting and singing at them. Keep on standing up for the health of everyone in America.

Since I started maining a monk

Jul. 25th, 2017 05:20 pm
dragovianknight: (WoW - Hardwire - LOL)
[personal profile] dragovianknight
I really want this shirt (Amazon link). Only not with what is obviously a warrior tank, because my main is a brewmaster and proud of it.

How hard do we think it would be for me to bribe [personal profile] darthneko into designing me an appropriately Pandaren shirt for my birthday?

(Someday, I will get up the nerve to try tanking in a group, instead of swapping to windwalker in raids and dungeons. Because I like being able to take a hit - I really love the stagger/purify mechanic brewmasters have - and also, having a healer glued to my ass makes me feel like a GOD. A GOD I SAY. Sadly, I fear messing up mechanics and causing a group wipe.)

I need an icon of my tank looking tanky.
[syndicated profile] sjmerc_local_feed

Posted by The Associated Press

DENVER  — Chipotle says its sales rose during the second quarter as it worked on recovering from past food scares, but noted that recent events show it still has “a lot of opportunity” to improve its operations.

The Denver-based company says sales rose 8 percent at established locations for the three months that ended June 30, following a 24 percent drop in the year-ago period. The improved results in the most recent quarter do not reflect any potential fallout from this month, when Chipotle temporary closed a store in Virginia prompted by what health officials believe was a norovirus outbreak.

At another location in Dallas, the company blamed a structural gap for mice falling from the ceiling. The events came to light after the second quarter ended, and it’s not yet known whether they might discourage customers from visiting Chipotle locations in the future.

For the quarter, the company said it earned $66.7 million, or $2.32 per share. That was more than the $2.16 per share analysts expected, according to Zacks Investment Research.

Total revenue was $1.17 billion. Analysts expected $1.18 billion.

Chipotle shares have dropped roughly 8 percent since the beginning of the year, while the Standard & Poor’s 500 index has risen 11 percent. In the final minutes of trading on Tuesday, shares hit $348.40, a decline of 21 percent in the last 12 months. They rose 2.6 percent in extended trading.


[syndicated profile] sjmerc_local_feed

Posted by Judy Peterson

Monday’s strong, gusty winds caused a small brush fire to break out at about 3:40 p.m. at the back of the Los Gatos Elks Lodge at 105 Newell Ave.

According to the Santa Clara County Fire Department, the fire was sparked by swaying trees that took down a PG&E power line and caused another to make contact with a telecommunications line. “Both distribution lines were actively sparking,” Acting Chief Fire Investigator Ryan Cronin said in an email.

The fire was reported by a nearby resident, who went to the Winchester Boulevard fire station in person.

“The reporting party had attempted to call 911 from the house phone but could not get through,” Cronin said. “It is reasonable to assume that the electrical distribution line making contact with the telecommunications wires had disabled service.”

Once a PG&E worker disconnected the electrical lines, firefighters extinguished the blaze. In all, seven fire trucks were on the scene for just over two hours.

A neighbor’s fence bordering the Elks Lodge was damaged, but no other damage was reported.

[syndicated profile] sjmerc_local_feed

Posted by Robert Salonga

Anthony Valerio, 42, of San Jose, was arrested July 24, 2017 on suspicion of raping a developmentally disabled woman for whom he worked as a life coach.
Anthony Valerio, 42, of San Jose, was arrested July 24, 2017 on suspicion of raping a developmentally disabled woman for whom he worked as a life coach. 

SAN JOSE — A Calero High School employee has been arrested on suspicion of raping a developmentally disabled woman he met at the campus, according to the Santa Clara County Sheriff’s Office.

Anthony Valerio, 42, was booked into the Santa Clara County jail on one sexual-assault count and is being held on $100,000 bail.

The Sheriff’s Office said the victim’s parents contacted a patrol deputy to report suspicions that their 21-year-old daughter was the victim of a sexual assault. An ensuing investigation led detectives to identify Valerio as a suspect.

Valerio met the victim when she was a student at the school, authorities said. It was not immediately clear where the alleged rape occurred.

Valerio, whose duties included being a life coach for students, was arrested Monday night, the Sheriff’s Office said, adding that Calero High School, an alternative high school in the East Side Union High School District, was alerted of the arrest and is cooperating with investigators.

“Working as a job training technician is a huge responsibility, working with adults transitioning out of high school and into the work force,” East Side Union High School District Superintendent Chris Funk said in a statement. “Clearly the trust was violated and we are disappointed and disgusted by the actions of this former employee. We strive to provide the safest program and environment for all of our students.”

Detectives are exploring whether there are other alleged victims linked to Valerio. Anyone with information about the case can contact the Sheriff’s Office detective bureau at 408-808-4500 or leave a tip at 408-808-4431.

[syndicated profile] sjmerc_local_feed

Posted by Rex Crum

Investors didn’t like what Alphabet spelled out Tuesday, as Wall Street shaved almost 3 percent off the Google parent company’s shares in the wake of its most-recent quarterly results.

Alphabet’s shares closed Tuesday at $969.03 after the company on Monday reported a second-quarter profit of  $3.5 billion, or $5.01 a share. However, Alphabet’s earnings fell from the $4.9 billion it earned a year ago as the company was hit with a $2.74 billion fine by the European Union for unfair business practices.

Small declines also came from Adobe Systems and Tesla.

It was also a day with few notable advancers. Pandora shares rose almost 2 percent, to close at $9.83. Apple, Oracle and HP also put in mild gains on the day.

The tech-focused Nasdaq Composite Index barely moved by the close of trading, rising just 1.4 points to 6,412.17. The blue chip Dow Jones Industrial Average climbed 0.5 percent to 21,613.43, and the broad-based Standard & Poor’s 500 Index edged up by 0.3 percent to finish at 2,477.08.

Scramble! 93

Jul. 25th, 2017 11:15 pm
magaru: (diebuster ✽ nono)
[personal profile] magaru posting in [community profile] colors_tcg

The Hall Monitor is going to be here soon and the letters are in disarray! Let's quickly clean these up since he'd explode if he saw this mess.

This round's theme... )

For each name that you unscramble, you'll two random cards. If you get all of them right, you'll get an additional crayon!

This round ends on Tuesday, August 1st
[syndicated profile] snopes_feed

Posted by Dan MacGuill

River Falls-based Three Square Market is giving its workers the option of voluntarily having a microchip implanted in their hands.
[syndicated profile] sjmerc_local_feed

Posted by Annie Sciacca

RICHMOND — The long-struggling Hilltop mall could get new life as investors scoop it up and plan for redevelopment.

LBG Real Estate Companies and Aviva Investors announced the purchase of the 1.1 million-square-foot East Bay mall on Tuesday, which went into foreclosure about four years ago and then to the auction block.

Residents and city officials have long expressed hope that a new developer could breathe new life into the 40-year-old mall, which has floundered in recent years with high vacancy and a lack of foot traffic.

LBG said in a company statement that it is planning “rebranding and redevelopment” for the mall that will “once again create an inviting and exciting atmosphere for shopping, entertainment and dining” at Hilltop.

In the short term, that includes “significant” upgrades to the building exterior, interior common areas, and signage surrounding the property, LBG said, but it is also planning a long-term redevelopment that would allow more than 9,600 housing units at the property as well as office and hotel uses.

Leslie Lundin, managing partner for LBG, said that the company will begin “immediately” on an upgrade program, starting with the parking lots and exterior lighting improvements as well as interior upgrades.

“We are working with designers and architects now on the redesign of the entrances and central court,” Lundin said in an email. “We would anticipate that these larger improvements would commence later this year.”

Lundin said in a company statment that “Hilltop mall has experienced higher tenant defections and has suffered from deferred maintenance over the past six years as it’s been either in foreclosure or lender owned. LBG’s ownership will be the first true developer ownership for Hilltop mall since the end of the last downturn. Hilltop is a sleeping giant just waiting for a chance to be reborn.”

Hilltop’s story is emblematic of indoor malls across the country that have become what many deem irrelevant as consumer preferences change to favor outdoor shopping centers and mixed-use districts that include entertainment and dining in addition to retailers — along with the online channels.

But if other Bay Area retail trends are any indication, even comparatively small renovations like improvements to the exterior and interior areas could help. High-end malls — even enclosed ones — are largely thriving in the Bay Area, such as Pleasanton’s Stoneridge Shopping Center, Concord’s Sunvalley Shopping Center and the Westfield in San Francisco. Lower-tier malls, often referred to as “Class B” and “Class C,” are the ones feeling the effects of changing consumer tastes and residual economic sluggishness from the last recession, experts say.

“We believe our reimagined merchandising and branding strategies will increase consumer traffic dramatically, be very well received by the retail community and be well supported by residents throughout the East Bay,” said David Goldman, managing partner in charge of leasing for LBG, in the company news release.

Hilltop, which hovered at 75 percent occupied as of last year, was poised to struggle even further after JCPenney, which is one of the anchors of the mall, announced it would close its store there — part of the retailer’s plan to shrink its store count by 138 stores as the industry grapples with changes.

Russ Bates, head of the Americas of Aviva Investors’ Global Indirect Real Estate Group, said in a news release that the company analyzed the potential redevelopment of the site into a mix of uses, including housing, and that it has “ great growth opportunities.”

Richmond mayor Tom Butt has been impatient to see changes at the mall and said Tuesday that he’s “glad to see some progress” in renovating the site.

Well, I wasn't expecting that!

Jul. 25th, 2017 04:49 pm
conuly: (Default)
[personal profile] conuly
I just won a free one-year subscription to a magazine put out by Cricket! We already get Cricket, so I went with Muse. Fingers crossed that the girls like it.


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