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  1. #16516

    Re: National, Regional and Local News

    Customs and Border Protection computer outage leads to slowdown at international airports across the United States

    By Maria Sacchetti and Michael Laris August 16 at 6:28 PM

    Long lines formed at international airports across the United States on Friday after U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s computer system broke down and dramatically slowed the processing of thousands of people arriving from abroad, including U.S. citizens.

    Officials say they would not stop processing passengers, but said they had to switch to a slower, alternative process.

    It was not immediately clear how long people were having to wait, but reports on Twitter showed clogged terminals and extremely long lines.

    “U.S. Customs and Border Protection is experiencing a temporary outage with its processing systems at various air ports of entry and is taking immediate action to address the technology disruption,” the Department of Homeland Security agency said in a statement. “CBP officers continue to process international travelers using alternative procedures until systems are back online. Travelers at some ports of entry are experiencing longer than usual wait times and CBP officers are working to process travelers as quickly as possible while maintaining the highest levels of security.”

    Officials said all travelers were being screened against national security-related databases and there was no sign the outage was malicious.

    Reports of frustration emerged on Twitter Friday afternoon, and Los Angeles International Airport said it dispatched its team of “Guest Experience Members to help at @CBP customs areas to help direct guests and provide other assistance.”

    “@CBP systems are experiencing an issue which appears to be impacting multiple airports including LAX,” the airport said. “Officers are processing passengers manually so please check with your airline for the latest status of any flight impacts. More details as they become available.”

    Officials at Washington Dulles International Airport said they learned about the CBP outage at about 3:30 p.m. Friday, but they said the matter was resolved by 5 p.m.

    “Processing procedures are beginning to return to normal,” said Kristin Clarkson, a spokeswoman for the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority, the agency that runs Dulles. “Over about an hour and half period it was backed up. Those people will have to be processed. I’m not sure how long it will take.”

    At about 6 p.m. Friday, John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York tweeted that passengers were “being processed manually.”

    “Delays are expected,” the tweet said.

    Earlier in the day, JFK airport had tweeted that “CBP staffing changes” had also led to long waits in customs, and airport officials asked passengers for “patience and understanding.”

    CBP processes more than 350,000 incoming international air passengers and crew members on a typical day, according to its web site, and has experienced computer outages in the past.

    CBP reported outages on its Twitter account on Jan. 1, 2018, and on Jan. 2, 2017, which led to hours-long delays each time, and a 90-minute outage on Oct. 14, 2015.

    After the 2017 outage, the Homeland Security Inspector General said “underlying issues,” such as “deficient” software maintenance, “might result in future outages.”
    “No matter how cynical I get, I just can't keep up.” – Lily Tomlin.

  2. #16517

    Re: National, Regional and Local News

    This was Global Entry at Philly Intl (PHL) 4 hours ago. And it only got worse since reports are that they've only got it fixed within the last hour. A mess. And freaking a ton of people out too.

  3. #16518

    Re: National, Regional and Local News

    Quote Originally Posted by JazzNU View Post
    This was Global Entry at Philly Intl (PHL) 4 hours ago. And it only got worse since reports are that they've only got it fixed within the last hour. A mess. And freaking a ton of people out too.

    “No matter how cynical I get, I just can't keep up.” – Lily Tomlin.

  4. #16519

    Re: National, Regional and Local News

    Black teens were raising money for their football team when a white woman held them at gunpoint, police say

    By Leah Asmelash

    (CNN)Four Arkansas teens were going door to door to raise money for their high school football team when a woman held them at gunpoint, police say.

    The 10th-grade boys, who are all black and who were not identified because of their ages, were selling discount cards for restaurants and stores in Wynne, Arkansas, on August 7. Jerri Kelly, who told police that she is a former law enforcement officer and the wife of a county jail administrator, stopped them in front of her home, according to a police report.
    Kelly, who is white, said she saw the boys making a ruckus, according to the police report. She called the Wynne Police Department to report "suspicious persons" and in a later statement said, "All males were African American, and I know this residence to be white."

    As the boys approached her home, walking up her driveway and standing in her yard, Kelly picked up her revolver and came out to ask what they were doing, according to her statements. Even though they said they weren't stealing, Kelly told police, she instructed them to get on the ground.

    One boy told officers that he thought it was a joke until Kelly said to "get on the f***ing ground and spread your legs," the police report says.

    When they were on the ground, the boys said in their statements, she told them she would shoot if they moved. She asked whether they knew who she was and whose house it was. When the boys tried to explain what they were doing, they told police, she accused them of lying.

    "I thought she was going to shoot me in the head, how she was acting," one boy said in his statement.

    When officers arrived, they found the four boys lying face-down on the ground, with their hands behind their backs, and Kelly standing about 10 feet from them with a gun drawn, according to the police report. One of the officers, who was also a school resource officer, recognized the boys and explained the situation to Kelly. They were allowed to stand, and the situation was defused.

    As the boys were walking to the officers' patrol vehicle, Kelly told them to wait and began gesturing to her skin color and theirs.

    "It ain't about that," she said, according to the responding officer's statement. "If you're going to sell cards, act like you're selling cards. ... Don't be hanging out up there, and then don't walk over to my house. Don't act like that. Be men about it and sell cards."

    Two of the boys told police that Kelly then made them shake her hand.

    Kelly told the police that it didn't appear to her that the boys were selling anything, the report says. "They spent a good five minutes goofing off and screwing around in [the neighbor's] driveway and up around their house. That's not selling cards," she said, according to the report.

    Neighbors told an officer that they saw the boys walking down the street, playing and running around, but "nothing out of the ordinary," the report says.

    Kelly, 46, was arrested Monday and charged with four counts of aggravated assault and first degree false imprisonment -- both felonies -- as well as four counts of endangering the welfare of a minor in the second degree.

    Police didn't immediately take a mugshot of Kelly, but Cross County Sheriff David West -- for whom Kelly's husband works -- told CNN affiliate WMC that it wasn't because of preferential treatment but because of a "medical issue" during her booking. A mugshot was taken later.

    It's not clear whether Kelly entered a plea at her first appearance in court on Thursday. Her next hearing is scheduled for September 30. CNN could not immediately determine whether she has an attorney.

    Wynne County Schools Superintendent Carl Easley said in a statement that his district will review the fundraising policy and "will consider banning any door to door sales."

    "We are very concerned for our kids," he said.

  5. #16520
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    Re: National, Regional and Local News

    Winston, a.k.a. Alvena Rae Risley Hiatt (1944-2019), RIP

  6. #16521

    Re: National, Regional and Local News

    Quote Originally Posted by suliso View Post
    Surely you got it all back and more by not panicking and just waiting for about 7 years or so.
    Dude, that is the same logic as being stabbed with a knife and seven years later saying nothing happened because you healed and you are here to tell the story.
    I also have a friend that is still paying a huge mortgage in Spain after he bought a place in 2007, it went down in value over 50% (while his mortgage payments remained the same) and well, after a lot of things, now lives in Chile because Spain has never really recovered.
    I know, I have to look at the bright side. Just can't find it.
    Face it. It's the apocalypse.

  7. #16522

    Re: National, Regional and Local News

    scott horsley
    US Steel is warning that nearly 200 employees of its idled blast furnace in Michigan could be laid off for 6 months or more. Domestic steelmakers continue to struggle despite the Trump admin's decision to impose 25% tariffs on most imported steel.
    “No matter how cynical I get, I just can't keep up.” – Lily Tomlin.

  8. #16523

    Re: National, Regional and Local News


    Feds Arrest Neo-Nazi Trump Fan for Threatening to "Exterminate" Miami Hispanics
    JERRY IANNELLI | AUGUST 20, 2019 | 12:08PM

    Washington state resident Eric Lin was not shy about his love for Adolf Hitler. According to a criminal complaint filed Friday, Lin enjoyed referencing the Third Reich in writing: He apparently sent a litany of Hitler-referencing death threats to a Hispanic woman in Miami and got himself arrested last week after he planned to wire a man $10,000 to beat her up, hatched a plot to kidnap her and stuff her in a plastic bin, and repeatedly vowed to kill every Hispanic person in the Magic City.

    "The time will come when Miami will burn to the ground — and every Latin Man will be lined up against a Wall and Shot and every Latin Woman Raped or Cut to Pieces," Lin allegedly wrote August 8.

    Lin, age 35, is originally from Clarksburg, Maryland, but was arrested Friday in Seattle and charged with making threatening communications online. Lin appeared in Seattle federal court for this first time this morning. He has not yet entered a plea.

    According to an affidavit from a Miami FBI agent filed in federal court, Lin was not shy about putting his violent threats in writing. Between May and August of this year, Lin allegedly fired off a litany of hateful, pro-Trump, pro-Hitler, and violent Facebook messages directed toward Hispanics living in Miami. Those messages wound up in the hands of the FBI.

    Per the FBI agent's affidavit, an alleged victim — an immigrant from Spain identified only as "C.I." — contacted the Miami Police Department to alert law enforcement that Lin had been sending her threatening messages from two Facebook accounts since May 30. Miami PD alerted the FBI July 24. Then the feds interviewed C.I., who provided 150 printed pages of insanely racist, violent messages Lin had allegedly sent. She said Lin had at one point frequented the Miami restaurant where she worked.

    Among the many terrifying messages Lin sent was an image of Hitler superimposed over a photo of Lin's face, C.I. said.

    "Composite of my face with the Fόhrer and Reichskanzler Deutschland," he allegedly wrote May 30. The informant also told the FBI that Lin had whipped out the same photo in the restaurant where C.I. worked.

    From there, the messages grew far more hateful and violent. Lin repeatedly said he wanted to "kill" and "exterminate" Hispanics, whom he repeatedly referred to as "S*ics." In one case, he called Hispanic people "rabid dogs." In another, he said he would let C.I. "live so you can slowly watch me destroy your entire race."

    "In 3 short years your entire Race your entire culture will Perish only then after I kill your S*ic family I will permit you to die by hanging on Metal Wire [sic]," Lin allegedly wrote June 7. The next day, he told C.I. he planned to "enslave, rape, and use you like a baby-making machine. Once I'm finished with you I might just get rid of you like a piece of trash." The same day, he allegedly also said he would kill C.I. with a rifle while carrying a neo-Nazi dagger used by the SS.

    The messages only continued. He allegedly said he wanted to "exterminate" the "worthless Latin race." July 9, he sent more Nazi-referencing threats. "By the authority of ADOLF HITLER AND GOD I HEREBY DECLARE SPANISH AND ALL SPANISH-SPEAKING PEOPLE ILLEGAL," Lin allegedly wrote. "[T]hat's ALL I NEED AUTHORITY FROM ADOLF HITLER TO ACT. I FOLLOW ONLY ADOLF HITLER AND THEN GOD. THEY ARE ONE AND THE SAME." He again threatened to kill every Hispanic person in Miami and at one point told C.I. he would "drink your blood until you die."

    The messages then trod pro-Trump territory. July 19, Lin allegedly wrote:

    I thank god every day Donald John Trump is President and that he will launch a Racial War and Crusade to keep the Ni**ers, S*ics, and Muslims and any dangerous non-White or Ethnically or Culturally foreign group "In Line." By "in Line" it is meant that they will either be sent to "Concentration Camps" or dealt with Ruthlessly and Vigorously by the United States Military.
    The FBI obtained a warrant to search Lin's private accounts. The feds found even more terrifying details: Lin had apparently been hatching plans to pay someone to hurt or kidnap C.I. while he'd also been messaging her.

    "Hey Chris, I was wondering if you could do me a favor?" Lin allegedly wrote July 10. "I was wondering if you can go to Miami and beat up this S*ic who insulted me. I can pay you $10,000."

    "Sure, pay me first Paypal or Zelle," the alleged accomplice responded.

    Days later, Lin seemingly changed his tune. Instead of simply beating up C.I., "Chris" should kidnap her, stuff her in a plastic bin, and transport her all the way to Seattle. Lin wrote:

    The Plan is you and Mara convince her that you are Rich White Americans people she looks up to. And then get her into a rented house or mansion and chain her up and put her in a Rubber maid Plastic Bin. Then you got to drive her to Seattle, Washington, upon which I will pay you $25,000 cash. You don't need to kill her her hurt her at most you will be charged with Kidnapping. Nothing will happen to you if you get the Right lawyers She's a S*ic who Hates White Americans... I doubt the FBI would care much about her. [sic]
    The same day, he added, "I don't care if I have to Pay you a Million Dollars or More I want this Done! [sic]"

    Thankfully, Lin never got the chance.
    “No matter how cynical I get, I just can't keep up.” – Lily Tomlin.

  9. #16524

    Re: National, Regional and Local News

    After Trump blames mental illness for mass shootings, health agencies ordered to hold all posts on issue

    By Yasmeen Abutaleb and William Wan August 20 at 5:36 PM

    When President Trump targeted mental illness as the cause of the mass shootings in El Paso and Dayton that killed 31 people, federal health officials made sure no government experts might contradict him.

    A Health and Human Services directive on Aug. 5 warned communication staffers not to post anything on social media related to mental health, violence and mass shootings without prior approval. That alarmed some government mental health experts who said they felt muzzled at a moment when many Americans were searching for answers to the U.S. epidemic of mass shootings, said three agency employees.

    Many researchers and mental health experts said Trump’s comments contradicted well-established research.

    “Mental illness and hatred pull the trigger. Not the gun,” Trump said immediately after the shootings. In the following days, he reiterated that statement, arguing that the United States should reopen mental institutions shuttered decades ago as a way to address mass shootings.

    While mental illness is sometimes a factor in such shootings, it is rarely a predictor, according to a growing body of research. Most studies of mass shooters have found that no more than a quarter of them have diagnosed mental illness. Researchers have noted that more commonly shared attributes include a strong sense of resentment, desire for notoriety, obsession with other shooters, a history of domestic violence, narcissism and access to firearms.

    “To say that scientists and experts who know the data and facts best are not allowed to speak — that’s very concerning,” said Dominic Sisti, a University of Pennsylvania professor who studies ethics in mental health and psychiatry. “It’s especially alarming that they’re doing this at a critical moment when what we need most is research and evidence-based facts about mental illness.”

    An HHS employee who spoke on the condition of anonymity to describe internal discussions said he had “no doubt this was meant to prevent anybody from making any statements that might contradict the president.

    “We understand we’re not supposed to contradict the president, but it’s not typical” for the administration to require all social media posts be cleared by senior officials, he added.

    On Aug. 5, Trump was scheduled to speak following the weekend shootings. That morning, some HHS employees, including those at the National Institutes of Health, received an email asking those who contribute to official social media accounts to hold off on posts until “we get the green light from HHS,” which was expected after the president spoke, according to a copy of the email obtained by The Washington Post.

    Later that afternoon, some employees received another email from Renate Myles, an NIH spokeswoman. Social media posts could resume, the note said, but employees were asked to “please send any posts related to mental health, violence or other topics associated with mass shootings for review before posting.”

    The second directive applied most directly to the National Institutes of Mental Health, where nearly all of the agency’s social media activities relate to mental health. It remains unclear how many people received that instruction, which was lifted by week’s end.

    “It’s the department’s long-standing practice to not get ahead of the president’s remarks,” HHS spokeswoman Caitlin Oakley said. “This allows the president to share his message first with the nation. Any suggestions that this was a formal policy put in place related to social media, or meant to stymie work on this issue, are factually inaccurate. These were staff-level discussions seeking to be sensitive and respectful to the victims and their families affected by tragedies of that weekend.”

    By contrast, two former senior health officials in the Obama administration said they did not recall ever receiving such a directive after a mass shooting.

    In the days and months following the mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., which killed 20 first-graders and six staff members, the National Institutes of Mental Health spoke extensively about mental illness and violence. “The conversation has evolved, recognizing that violence most often associated with mental illness is suicide, and that most violence is unrelated to mental illness,” the NIMH director said at a meeting three months later. NIMH also hosted a special panel discussion, “How Sandy Hook is Changing the Conversation,” during which mental health experts worked to dispel stereotypes that link mental illness to violence.

    After this month’s shootings, however, NIMH and its director were largely silent on the shooting. The only mention on the official NIMH Twitter account was a retweet of the NIH account, directing those struggling with grief and emotional distress to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration for counseling and support.

    “There is this climate of concern whether you can make a statement based on facts,” said a National Institutes of Health employee. “I see people struggling with how to interpret it. What are we allowed to do?”

    Trump’s comments following the shootings sparked widespread concern among mental health experts and advocates.

    “Research has shown that only a very small percentage of violent acts are committed by people who are diagnosed with, or in treatment for, mental illness,” Rosie Phillips Davis, president of the American Psychological Association, said in a statement.

    Mental health advocates also worry that blaming the mentally ill for mass shootings will spread fear and keep people from seeking help.

    In a 2018 report on 63 active-shooter assailants, the FBI found that 25 percent had been diagnosed with a mental illness. Of those, three had been diagnosed with a psychotic disorder. In a 2015 study that examined 226 men who committed or tried to commit mass killings, 22 percent could be considered mentally ill. Researchers also point out that other countries have similar rates of mental illness but only a fraction of U.S. fatalities from shootings. The key factor that sets the United States apart from the rest of the world, epidemiologists say, is the easy availability of guns.

    Trump’s latest argument — that reopening mental asylums would help stop mass shootings — has similarly drawn concern. In a June study, Dominic Sisti of the University of Pennsylvania and fellow researcher Isabel Perera looked at other countries that shut down their psychiatric institutions as America did and compared their rates of mass shootings. They found no relationship between deinstitutionalization and mass shootings.

    “Mental illness as an explanation for mass shootings is a trope, a distraction,” Sisti said.
    “No matter how cynical I get, I just can't keep up.” – Lily Tomlin.

  10. #16525

    Re: National, Regional and Local News

    Man Arrested With 17 Guns, Grenade Launcher and Nazi Paraphernalia
    The arrest in New Jersey comes amid a spate of mass shootings as officials grapple with a rising white supremacist threat.

    By Ali Watkins
    Published Aug. 20, 2019
    Updated Aug. 21, 2019, 8:36 a.m. ET

    Had Joseph Rubino not wrecked his car, he might still be living with a house full of guns in New Jersey.

    But on the morning of July 24, Mr. Rubino was driving his white Chevy van on Route 517 in Allamuchy, N.J., when he lost control of the vehicle and slammed into a tree, seriously injuring himself and a passenger.

    When officers from the New Jersey State Police began extracting Mr. Rubino from the wreckage, they noticed something unsettling in the van: a stockpile of assault weapons and ammunition. In a subsequent search of Mr. Rubino’s home, the police said they found more than a dozen other weapons, drugs and a box of neo-Nazi paraphernalia.

    Mr. Rubino, 57, of Lafayette Township in Sussex County, was charged on Tuesday in federal court in Newark with unlawful possession of a firearm, along with several drug offenses.

    In addition to the large collection of weapons found at his home, law enforcement officers discovered three kilograms of marijuana, 70 grams of methamphetamine and boxes of bumper stickers and clothing with S.S. Bolts — “Common white supremacist and Nazi symbols,” prosecutors said.

    Officers also found a document labeled with a racial epithet “containing racist material and purporting to be an instruction manual for owning a slave,” prosecutors said.

    Why Mr. Rubino kept such a large arsenal — a collection the police say included semiautomatic handguns, shotguns, rifles with scopes and a grenade launcher — remains unclear. But the arrest comes as the nation is already on edge after a spate of recent mass shootings, at least one of which was inspired by racist hatred, and the arrests in the past week of three men who the authorities said were planning attacks.


    Although Mr. Rubino’s motivation for harboring such an arsenal remains unclear, all of these arrests come as federal law enforcement officials grapple with a resurgent white supremacist threat, the rise of which some say has been aided by rhetoric from the White House and conservative media outlets. The arrests come a decade after the federal government effectively disbanded the Department of Homeland Security team that tracked domestic terrorism.

    A spokesman for the United States attorney’s office in New Jersey would not say if Mr. Rubino was on investigators’ radars before his car accident in July. Neither the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives nor the F.B.I. could be reached for comment.

    In New York City, there has been a significant increase in hate crimes this year, up 68 percent from last year as of June, according to police statistics.

    Prosecutors in New Jersey said the Nazi paraphernalia Mr. Rubino possessed was also associated with outlaw motorcycle gangs.

    Aside from the firearms, the stockpile seized from Mr. Rubino’s home and car included brass knuckles, at least one high-capacity magazine, hollow-point bullets, a wooden ax handle and a baseball bat, prosecutors said. A total of 17 guns were found.

    In addition to firearms charges, Mr. Rubino was charged with intent to distribute methamphetamines and marijuana. Prosecutors say he carried the weapons to assist with drug trafficking.

    Mr. Rubino was convicted in 1999 of writing a bad check, prosecutors said, a felony that makes his possession of any firearm illegal.
    “No matter how cynical I get, I just can't keep up.” – Lily Tomlin.

  11. #16526

    Re: National, Regional and Local News

    Anti-vaccine activist assaults California vaccine law author, police say
    AUG. 21, 2019 2:21 PM

    SACRAMENTO — An anti-vaccine activist was cited for assault by the Sacramento Police Department on Wednesday after he livestreamed a physical confrontation with state Sen. Richard Pan, author of legislation to restrict vaccine exemptions.

    Pan, a Democrat from Sacramento, was pushed from behind by Kenneth Austin Bennett, who challenged the senator in the 2018 primary but did not qualify for the general election. Bennett filed a recall petition against Pan earlier this year alleging the senator was committing treason by authoring bills to increase vaccination rates in the state.

    A video Bennett posted to Facebook shows he confronted Pan near the state Capitol and was livestreaming when he struck him. Afterward, Bennett said on the video that “I probably shouldn’t have done that.” The Sacramento Police Department said Bennett was cited for assault and released.

    Pan, who was not injured in the attack, was walking with Assemblyman Ash Kalra (D-San Jose) during the incident.

    Bennett posted the video with the caption: “yes, I pushed Richard Pan for lying, laughing at us and for treason.” He added in the video that if Pan “Got what he deserved he would be hanged for treason for assaulting children, for misrepresenting the truth.”

    Pan’s spokeswoman Shannan Velayas said the senator has been routinely targeted by anti-vaccine activists since he introduced a bill in 2015 that created strict vaccine requirements for schoolchildren. Pan is carrying a bill that would further tighten California’s vaccine laws, prompting a new round of threats.

    “This is moving from a peculiar fringe curiosity to a violent extremist movement,” Velayas said. “Unfortunately this is not a surprise when violent rhetoric is used. Assaulting a public official is the logical next outcome of violent ... language.”

    Senate President Pro Tem Toni Atkins (D-San Diego) said the Legislature will assist in the investigation and do what is needed to protect elected leaders.

    “There is absolutely no reason for resorting to violence,” Atkins said in a statement. “We may not all agree on every piece of legislation, but that is no reason to resort to aggressive and harmful behavior.”
    “No matter how cynical I get, I just can't keep up.” – Lily Tomlin.

  12. #16527

    Re: National, Regional and Local News

    Del Monte to close Sleepy Eye plant, lay off all workers
    Sleepy Eye plant ending 69 full-time and hundreds of seasonal jobs
    By Kristen Leigh Painter Star Tribune AUGUST 20, 2019 — 10:32PM

    Just days after Sleepy Eye wrapped up Buttered Corn Days, the company that donates all of the sweet cobs for the annual summer festival announced plans to shutter the local canning plant, laying off all full-time and seasonal workers with it.

    Del Monte Foods Inc. on Tuesday notified the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development that it will permanently close the Sleepy Eye location at the end of this year’s harvest and packing season, shuttering a plant that opened in the Great Depression and has been a mainstay of the community for 89 years.

    “The closing of Del Monte will have a tremendous impact on the community,” said Sleepy Eye Mayor Wayne Pelzel. “This will have an impact on the school, on housing, on just a whole ton of things in the community. We are really saddened by this news.”

    The California-based company has scheduled the closure for on or around Oct. 21. All 69 full-time jobs and 294 seasonal positions will be eliminated. Layoffs will begin as soon as Oct. 2 and be staggered through next June as the plant finishes any remaining labeling, shipping and administrative work needed to close.

    The closing is part of a broader decision by Del Monte’s parent company, Singapore-based Del Monte Pacific *Limited, to sell or close many of its U.S. assets. In addition to the plant in Sleepy Eye, the company will end production at its Mendota, Ill., plant, and sell its facilities in Cambria, Wis., and Crystal City, Texas.

    The production will be moved to Del Monte’s remaining U.S. plants.

    “This decision has been difficult and has come after careful consideration. This restructuring is a necessary step for us to remain competitive in a rapidly changing marketplace,” Joselito D. Campos Jr., chief executive of Del Monte Pacific Limited, said in a statement. “We are committed to doing all we can to provide the affected employees with resources and support.”

    It’s the latest southern Minnesota vegetable-canning plant to face closure as consumer preferences shift toward fresh or frozen produce. Seneca Foods Corp. closed its peas and corn processing plant in Rochester last year, citing shifting consumer trends.

    Del Monte donated 5½ tons of sweet corn, free for the public, for Sleepy Eye’s annual Buttered Corn Days this past weekend. “They are always a contributor of any worthwhile project here in town,” Pelzel said.

    The Sleepy Eye plant began operating in 1930 and produces more cases of canned peas and corn than any of the company’s other plants. It takes in crops from more than 300 growers covering more than 22,000 acres, according to Del Monte’s website.

    Pelzel found out about the closure at the same time as members of the media.

    “I’m not sure what Del Monte’s motivation is for selling this plant. We’ve always heard good things about this factory,” Pelzel said. “The straw of hope we hold onto is that someone else buys them out.”

    If not, he added, “we are going to do everything in our power to help those employees find new employment. Certainly people need to have jobs.”

    When running at full capacity during the summer season, the plant can employ up to 400 seasonal workers.

    The workers are not represented by a union.
    “No matter how cynical I get, I just can't keep up.” – Lily Tomlin.

  13. #16528

    Re: National, Regional and Local News

    Here is the Twitter link to the above article (Post #16527). In it people are talking about seeing shortages of food in their Walmarts and other local chains. There also seem to be shortages of OTC meds.
    “No matter how cynical I get, I just can't keep up.” – Lily Tomlin.

  14. #16529
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ti-Amie View Post
    Here is the Twitter link to the above article (Post #16527). In it people are talking about seeing shortages of food in their Walmarts and other local chains. There also seem to be shortages of OTC meds.
    Come to think of it, when I was in Walmart to pick up Advil, I was surprised how little of it (I took the last 200 count bottle), and the other pain relievers, were on the shelves. I'm talking a lot of empty slots.

  15. #16530

    Re: National, Regional and Local News

    Overstock CEO Patrick Byrne resigns after saying he aided in ‘deep state’ Russia investigation

    By Abha Bhattarai August 22 at 2:58 PM

    The chief executive of resigned Thursday, saying he was “far too controversial” after disclosing that he had aided in a “deep state” investigation into the 2016 election and was romantically involved with a Russian agent.

    Patrick M. Byrne had led the e-commerce retailer for two decades.

    “Though patriotic Americans are writing me in support, my presence may affect and complicate all manner of business relationships,” he told shareholders in a letter Thursday. “Thus, while I believe that I did what was necessary for the good of the country, for the good of the firm, I am in the sad position of having to sever ties with Overstock.”

    Byrne confirmed in a company news release last week that he had been romantically involved for three years with Maria Butina, a Russian gun rights activist who is now serving 18 months in prison for trying to influence U.S. policy ahead of the 2016 election. He also said he had been aiding federal authorities, whom he called “the Men in Black,” in their “Clinton investigation” and “Russia investigation.”

    The investigation “turned out to be less about law enforcement and more about political espionage conducted against Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump (and to a lesser degree, Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz),” he said in a statement last week. He did not provide more specifics.

    Byrne handed over a number of text messages, emails and other documents to the U.S. Department of Justice earlier this year, according to an article published last week by Sara Carter, a journalist and Fox contributor. Carter also reported that Byrne has a low-level security clearance and told the FBI of his early encounters with Butina. The FBI, Byrne told Carter, gave him “vague instructions that it would be ok to get to know her better.” Byrne confirmed those details in a news release. An FBI spokeswoman declined to comment, as did Butina’s attorney, Robert Driscoll.

    Shares of fell 36 percent following the initial disclosures. On Thursday, the stock jumped more than 9 percent.

    In a meandering and sometimes bizarre letter, Byrne said he had been thinking about resigning since July 2018, when “certain news became public.” That month, Butina was arrested by the FBI.

    “If the hors d’oeuvre that was served recently caused the market such indigestion, it is not going to be in shareholder interest for me to be around if and when any main course is served,” Byrne wrote in his resignation letter.

    “I wish all shareholders a smooth and level road,” he concluded. “And don’t forget to shop!”

    Jonathan E. Johnson III, who oversees the company’s blockchain subsidiary, has been appointed interim chief executive, said. Kamelia Aryafar, Overstock’s chief algorithms officer, will replace Byrne on the company’s board.

    Overstock got its start in 1997 as an Internet marketplace for excess inventory. Byrne took over the Utah-based company in 1999 and turned it into an e-commerce giant that specializes in home goods, furniture and decor. Sales rose 4 percent last year to $1.82 billion.

    Byrne, a longtime advocate of cryptocurrencies, has been building up Overstock’s blockchain business. The company became the first mainstream retailer to accept bitcoin in 2014, and is developing an e-commerce token called tZero. Byrne has recently become outspoken about his plans to resell Overstock’s e-commerce business to focus on blockchain.

    Now, with Byrne’s departure, analysts said they expected the company to move quickly in selling off its retail operations.

    “This is a tremendous day for shareholders,” said Tom Forte, an analyst for D.A. Davidson & Co. “To Patrick Byrne’s credit, he realized that the controversy was having a negative impact on his company and he stepped down. Now the company can move forward.”

    Devlin Barrett contributed to this story.
    “No matter how cynical I get, I just can't keep up.” – Lily Tomlin.

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