Business News
Bocce's Bakery

(NEW YORK) -- Sisters Andrea and Natalia Tovar looked to a special friend as inspiration for their company -- their 13-year-old dog Bocce.

In 2010, Andrea Tovar decided to start Bocce's Bakery after noticing all of the processed ingredients found in typical dog treats.

"I flipped over one of the treat bags that I was giving him and I was shocked by the amount of ingredients, and the names that I couldn't pronounce that were in his treats," said Andrea Tovar.

She decided that Bocce, and all dogs, deserved better. She began making dog treats from her New York City apartment with only natural ingredients.

"We would literally bake Friday to Sunday night, nonstop, tiny apartment," said Andrea Tovar. "Baking treats, baking treats."

Tovar said she soon tapped her sister and their mother Jacqueline to be the first employees. She said she needed the help when stores kept reordering her all-natural treats.

"Once the store started to reorder and that's when we knew, you know, this is a business," said Andrea Tovar. "We definitely need a bigger oven and more hands to be cutting those treats."

Now, Bocce's Bakery has four bakeries across the U.S. and employs over 700 workers.

"I mean we are so extremely proud to say that Bocce's is made in America, because of the jobs that we've been creating not only directly at Bocce's but at those we are supporting in bakeries and suppliers here in America," said Natalie Tovar.

The company makes about 6 million biscuits a week in dozens of flavors. Andrea Tovar said she has been especially grateful during this tough year.

"I think to be able to support American jobs and opportunities is huge every year," she said, "but especially this year."

Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

0
comments



ablokhin/iStock

(NEW YORK) -- Food service workers are putting renewed pressure on their employers for better working conditions and wages.

Businesses across the country are blaming a “workforce shortage” for being understaffed or closed. But workers in the industry say poor labor practices are pushing potential employees away.

“It’s stressful working for a billion-dollar company when they’re not caring for the workers,” said Ieshia Townsend, a McDonald’s employee in Chicago, Illinois. She has worked at the McDonald’s location since 2015. “Even during COVID-19, we had to literally go on strike just for masks, just for gloves, just for supplies and protection to protect the workers, which should have been set in place.”

Signs have been taped to the doors, drive-thru speakers and facades of fast-food and fast-casual restaurants with descriptions of long workdays, no lunch breaks and poor pay to accommodate for the risk of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. Some of the signs stated that many workers are no longer showing up for their shifts.

Employees across the country are searching for ways to make their workplaces more safe.

Edward Dialecio, who has worked at a New York City Chipotle for over a year, is one of many workers fighting for a union. He has been organizing with 32BJ SEIU.

“It’s a constant fight to create the conditions that we want and things have been changing for the better the more pressure we put on,” Dialecio said.

A sign on an unknown Chipotle door recently went viral on social media. It said: "Ask our corporate offices why their employees are forced to work in borderline sweatshop conditions for 8+ hours without breaks. We are overworked, understaffed, underpaid, and underappreciated."

Chipotle is being sued by the City of New York for violating a law that requires fast-food chains to give their employees stable schedules. The lawsuit, filed on April 28, claims there have been almost 600,000 violations of the law and $151 million is owed to workers because of workplace violations.

According to the lawsuit, Chipotle violated the Fair Workweek Law that was passed in 2017, which states that employers “must give workers good faith estimates of when and how much they will work, predictable work schedules and the opportunity to work newly available shifts before hiring new workers.”

In a statement to Insider, Chipotle's Chief Corporate Affairs Officer Laurie Schalow said: "We make it a practice to not comment on litigation and will not do so in this case, except to say the proceeding filed today by DCWP is a dramatic overreach and Chipotle will vigorously defend itself. Chipotle remains committed to its employees and their right to a fair, just, and humane work environment that provides opportunities to all."

In light of the recent demands from workers on poor working conditions, Chipotle Mexican Grill announced in a press release that it would increase restaurant wages to $15 by the end of June. It also introduced a new employee referral bonus, where employees can earn $200 for crew member referrals and $750 for higher ranking positions. The press release also stated that workers now have more opportunities for promotions and can advance in as quickly as three years.

The news also comes as Chipotle looks to hire 20,000 new workers in restaurants across the country.

"Chipotle is committed to providing industry-leading benefits and accelerated growth opportunities, and we hope to attract even more talent by showcasing the potential income that can be achieved in a few short years," Marissa Andrada, the chief diversity, inclusion and people officer at Chipotle, said in the release.

Chipotle did not respond to ABC News’ request for comment.

McDonald’s workers in 15 states are also demanding union representation. They will be going on strike on May 19 before the annual shareholder meeting to demand a $15 hourly wage and union representation for cooks and cashiers. In 2020, McDonald’s earned almost $5 billion in profits and workers are demanding that they get their share.

In a January investor call about Q4 earnings, McDonald's CEO Chris Kempczinski said the company is doing “just fine” in states where wages are above the federal minimum of $7.25.

Union organizers say they have been demanding a raise long before the pandemic and the fight has become more urgent. Townsend, who has been part of the Fight for $15 movement since 2016, said the job has become more dangerous since the start of the pandemic. When she comes home from work, she enters only through the back door and takes a shower before hugging her kids every day. She and her colleagues fear they’ll pass on the virus to their loved ones.

“You can afford to pay the workers $15 with a union,” Townsend said. “We need to be treated like we’re essential. We're not asking for a lot. We're asking for hazard pay. We're asking for $15 and a union. We're asking for sick pay time.”

McDonald’s did not respond to ABC News’ request for comment.

Heidi Shierholz, a senior economist and director of policy at the Economic Policy Institute, said there is some evidence of a labor shortage in the leisure and hospitality industry. Wages may be slowly increasing but they're still not high enough to attract workers, she argued.

Shierholz said fast-food employers are competing with hurdles like child care, ongoing health concerns and low wages. She said annual earnings for non-supervisory leisure and hospitality workers remain around $22,000 a year.

If employers want to bounce back, they need to address workforce concerns, Shierholz recommended.

“Listen to what workers need and then try to meet those,” she said. “People’s lives are just a lot more chaotic than they were before the recession. As much as policies can be adjusted to make room for that, that will help attract workers.”

Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

0
comments



MCCAIG/iStock

(ORLANDO) -- Memorial Day travel should is expected to jump by about 60 percent from 2020, as the coronavirus cases decline and more people begin to travel.

AAA is anticipating more than 37 million people will travel 50 or more miles from home between May 27 and 31. That figure far eclipsing the 23 million who traveled last Memorial Day, the lowest tally since AAA began recording the statistic in 2000.

It's still a decrease, however, from the 2019 Memorial Day holiday. That year, AAA says about 43 million people ventured out of town.

As more Americans get fully vaccinated against COVID-19, travel has begun to increase. During the month of May, the Transportation Security Administration has said over one million people per day have gone through U.S. airport security screenings.

Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

0
comments



RiverNorthPhotography/iStock

(NEW YORK) -- McDonald's is teaming up with the White House to help get the word out on COVID-19 vaccines.

The fast-food chain announced Tuesday it has partnered with the Biden administration to provide customers with access to trusted, independent information on vaccines. The partnership is part of the company's ongoing efforts to support communities and neighborhoods during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The initiative begins later this month and will kick off with an informational billboard in Times Square. In July, both McCafé cups and McDelivery seal stickers will promote vaccines.gov, where customers can get more information on how to protect themselves and others from the virus plus find nearby vaccine appointments.

The new packaging and ads will feature art from the national We Can Do This campaign, with the campaign’s slogan set against a map of the United States.

"We all want to protect ourselves and our loved ones and be together with our communities again. McDonald’s is excited to be doing our part for the people we serve, providing them with simple information that can help keep them safe," Genna Gent, McDonald’s USA vice president for global public policy and government relations, said in a statement. "This is a team effort -- it takes all of us. We’re proud to enter this partnership to provide trusted, independently verified information about COVID-19 vaccines to our customers in the nearly 14,000 communities we serve."

U.S. secretary of Health and Human Services, Xavier Becerra, added that "ending this pandemic requires all of us working together."

"Getting vaccinated is easy. More than 150 million people have already gotten at least one dose of vaccine and millions more are getting vaccinated every day," he said. "Thanks to McDonald's, people will now be able to get trusted information about vaccines when they grab a cup of coffee or order a meal."

This new business, government and community partnership builds on McDonald's continued efforts to provide for the safety of both employees and customers since last March.

In January, the fast-food restaurant chain announced that managers and crew at corporate-owned U.S. restaurants and U.S. corporate employees would receive up to four hours of paid time to receive the vaccine.

Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

0
comments



Darwin Brandis/iStock

(NEW YORK) -- Authorities are working to crack down on an impostor phone scam in which the caller pretends to be a Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) agent and then tries to steal the victim's money -- often by having them purchase gift cards.

Phone scams in general are on the rise, with the number of reported scams nearly doubling between 2019 and 2020, according to the latest numbers from the Federal Trade Commission. Half a million reports were filed last year alone, with losses totaling over $1 billion.

ABC News has been tracking new scam alerts sent out by the FBI, IRS and DEA in cities across the country including Boston, Houston, San Francisco, and Spokane, Washington, where officials report seeing an increase in scams in which would-be thieves identify themselves as officers, claim that the target has been found to be associated with a crime, and then demand that they pay them or else face charges.

The Drug Enforcement Administration recently issued a warning about a "widespread fraud scheme" in which the caller purports to be a DEA agent in an attempt to extort money.

According to DEA Special Agent James Pokryfke, the scam begins with the would-be thief informing the target that their name and social security number was used to rent a vehicle that was subsequently found at the southern border between the United States and Mexico, along with evidence of drugs and money laundering.

"The fake DEA agent will convince people to turn over money in a couple different ways. One is to avoid prosecution," said Pokryfke. That option often includes paying a fine, he said.

The other option is to offer the target a way to secure their money using the threat of a frozen bank account.

When Terri Tuson's phone rang last July, she says she was told her social security number had been used to rent a car that was found in Texas, along the border, with drugs in the car. The scammers told her they were going to freeze her bank accounts unless she withdrew her money and transferred it to gift cards.

"I was scared because I didn't know if it was actually going to happen or not," said Tuson, who works as a housekeeper at a hospital in Illinois.

At the time, she had $2,800 in her one account. She says she withdrew it all, following the scammer's direction, and went to a drug store and grocery store, where she purchased eBay and Best Buy gift cards.

"They told me they'll open up another account for me to put my money into, send a sheriff out to my house, and give me all that information so I can have my money back. It never happened," said Tuson.

ABC News spoke with several other victims of the same scam, whose losses ranged from $200 to over $450,000.

The DEA directed questions about a possible investigation into this specific scam to the FBI, which declined to comment on the status of an investigation.

In an audio recording provided to ABC News by the DEA, a scammer is heard trying his best to convince a target he's a legitimate DEA agent -- even texting a photo of a fake federal badge.

The scammer was unaware that his target had conferenced in a real DEA agent, Pokryfke, who told the scammer what he was doing was criminal and subject to investigation.

"The DEA will never call you and threaten you with arrest unless you make payment," Pokryfke told ABC News. "And they will never ask you to give them money to keep it secure."

YouTube star "Pierogi," a pseudonym used to protect his real identity, has gained celebrity fame by "scamming the scammers." Videos of his conversations with phone scammers show Pierogi -- who has a background in cybersecurity and IT -- playing a range of characters from a widowed grandmother to a college student.

"I'm on the phone every day with scammers and I hear victims in the background going to get gift cards and giving their money to these guys," Pierogi told ABC News.

He said the helpless feeling of not being able to assist the victims brings him to tears.

Pierogi, whose videos have been viewed more than 60 million times since he launched his channel in 2019, said the scammers don't just target the elderly.

"It can be 18 to 85 -- they don't care. If they think they can scam you, they will," he said.

Pierogi said that scammers use gift cards as a preferred method of payment because they have a very quick turnaround.

"The scammers have Facebook groups where people will either tie up gift cards or they'll take them as currency," he said.

FTC Acting Deputy Director Monica Vaca told ABC News that scammers have financial systems in place to monetize the cards.

"Sometimes they're selling them on a secondary market, or they use them for themselves," said Vaca. "Once you've read those numbers on the gift card [to the scammer], they will be able to access those funds."

According to the FTC, gift cards were the most common payment method by those who reported being victimized by the DEA scam in the past year, with a median loss of $850 per victim. The FTC said that the most popular gift cards requested by scammers include eBay, Google Play and iTunes cards.

FTC officials said they have been working with retailers to post visible signage in the gift card sections of stores as part of a public awareness campaign called "Hang Up on Gift Card Scams" that seeks to warn gift card purchasers about possible phone scams.

"We do hear from consumers that in many instances, it is these store clerks that intervene and stop them from sending money" when the targets of the scam go to purchase the cards, Vaca said.

Among those participating in the awareness campaign is the world's largest retailer, Walmart.

A Walmart spokesperson confirmed to ABC News that warning signs have been posted in Walmart stores across the United States. The company also confirmed that store associates have been trained in how best to identify red flags regarding potential fraud scams.

Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

0
comments



Merriam-Webster

(NEW YORK) -- After months of buzz around non-fungible tokens, or NFTs, the three-letter word has officially been added to Merriam-Webster's dictionary. But the publisher and language authority took the moment in blockchain history a step further by offering up the animated NFT of its definition for auction.

Peter Sokolowski, Merriam-Webster’s editor-at-large, told ABC News' Good Morning America that while he's come to know NFTs through the world of fine arts and memorabilia, "there's really nothing I've seen that compares with the specificity of this one, which is to say it is literally the definition of the activity, the endeavor, the archive and the minted product."

The proceeds of the auction will go to Teach for All, a network of organizations in 60 countries that incorporates Teach for America and ensures education opportunities for children, which he said "was the perfect charity to benefit from this."

"It makes it this nice symmetrical, elegant way of expressing this new term. We don't normally throw a party for every new word we add to the dictionary," he added with a laugh. "Words enter the dictionary at their own pace. When a word is found in many publications and likely to be encountered by many readers -- then that means that editors think that their readers know what [the word] is."

Sokolowski continued, "As soon as the linguistic white gloves come off and there's no longer a little parenthesis that explains it, then we see that the word has become essentially a naturalized citizen of the English language that's ready for the dictionary and has to be defined."

Here is how the official definition will read in the Merriam-Webster dictionary:

Non-fungible token (NFT): Noun ˌnän-ˈfǝn-jǝ-bǝl- : a unique digital identifier that cannot be copied, substituted, or subdivided, that is recorded in a blockchain, and that is used to certify authenticity and ownership of a specific digital asset (such as the original version of an online photo or video).

"This is a term that has come into the world in a big way in recent months. Cryptocurrency has been around for about a dozen years. Blockchain has been around for about 10 years," Sokolowski said. "If people are using a term in many places, then there is no advocacy or committee [on our end], it simply goes in as soon as we can get a good, carefully edited definition in."

Sokolowski also explained that NFT is actually referred to as an initialism, like FBI or CIA, where the letters are spoken individually.

"When you study and you learn etymologies" -- the study of the origin of words -- "like that fungible comes from fungi, to perform in Latin, you never forget it. That knowledge becomes yours, you own it and carry it with you forever," he said. "Carrying away the possession of knowledge is something that has always been part of what a dictionary does"

On Tuesday at 9:30 a.m. ET the first-of-its-kind auction will be available on OpenSea, the world’s largest digital marketplace for crypto collectibles and NFTs, and will close at midnight ET on Friday, May 14.

"This project is about establishing NFTs as a medium with lasting value through the permanence of a record in the country’s most-trusted dictionary," Nate Chastain, head of product at OpenSea, said in a statement. "We’re excited that a brand like Merriam-Webster is using NFTs to engage with its audience in new ways."

Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

0
comments



Nastasic/iStock

(NEW YORK) -- Nearly a decade ago, Linda Greene was having dinner with some of her friends when she heard that marijuana had been legalized for medicinal use in Washington, D.C. Having lived through the 1960s counterculture, she saw an opportunity.

Greene opened Anacostia Organics in 2019. The push to open the medicinal marijuana dispensary began after Greene saw that of the 15 original cultivator and dispensary licenses issued by the district’s Department of Health, none had been awarded to residents of the U.S. capital, and only two had been awarded to people of color.

Anacostia Organics became the first medical marijuana dispensary east of the Anacostia River, located in a poverty-stricken area that was also home to the majority of the city’s patients registered to buy marijuana for medicinal purposes. Greene, who aims to uplift the community in which her dispensary is located, said the drug has been misunderstood.

“This is not a stoner industry,” she told ABC News. “It’s been misconceived. ... It’s the industry of healing.”

Greene is one of over 320,000 Americans who work in the cannabis industry. The drug, which has been legalized for recreational use in 17 states and Washington, D.C., accounted for $17.5 billion in sales in 2020.

Yet, even as revenues from cannabis continue to grow across the country, the drug remains a federally prohibited Schedule 1 controlled substance -- in the same category as heroin, ecstasy and LSD.

That may change, though. Ninety-one percent of Americans surveyed believed marijuana should be legalized, according to a Pew Research Center survey from last month. Of those participants, 60% said it should be legalized both recreationally and medicinally. Only 8% said it should not be legal for any adult use.

The survey was conducted amid a heightened push by lawmakers to decriminalize the drug at the federal level and provide restorative justice to those who’ve been incarcerated for certain marijuana offenses. The House recently passed the SAFE Banking Act of 2019, which would make it easier for cannabis companies to operate in states where sales of the drug are legal.

During a press briefing on April 20, widely considered to be an unofficial holiday for marijuana users, White House press secretary Jen Psaki said that President Joe Biden supports “decriminalizing marijuana use and automatically expunging any prior criminal records. He also supports legalizing medicinal marijuana.”

But while Biden’s position may fall short of full recreational legalization, Andrew Freedman, the former director of cannabis coordination for the state of Colorado, said now may be one of the best chances to legalize the drug.

Freedman was widely known as Colorado’s cannabis czar. He spearheaded the state’s framework for recreational marijuana use legalization -- the first in the country. Since 2014, the industry has amassed $10 billion in sales and over $400 million in tax revenue that has been used in part to fund the state’s school-related projects.

He said the state has had legal marijuana for long enough now that it’s not even taboo anymore.

“If you go to Colorado right now, and you have conversations about cannabis, it’s the most normal thing in the world,” he said. “It stands right alongside alcohol. It stands right alongside the Denver Broncos as just a thing to have a conversation about.”

Freedman, who went on to advise other state governments about how to establish cannabis regulations, is now the executive director of the Coalition for Cannabis Policy, Education and Regulation. The think tank represents stakeholders including big tobacco, big beer and security companies, among others.

With more states legalizing it, Freedman said the think tank’s goal is to focus on the “hows” of marijuana legalization rather than the “ifs.”

“Our strategy is really to stop focusing on if legalization should go forward, recognizing that legalization has gone forward,” he said. “It’s a reality for almost half of America.”

Virginia became one of the latest states to legalize marijuana for recreational use last month. But while it’s the first state in the South to do so, it’ll take three years for people to be able to sell the drug legally. Gov. Ralph Northam recently pushed the state legislature to speed up the timeframe to legalize simple possession in an effort to limit marijuana-related arrests.

According to the American Civil Liberties Union, Black Americans are nearly four times more likely than white Americans to be arrested for marijuana possession, despite similar rates of use.

Shanita Penny was charged with possession nearly a decade ago. She said she believes her encounter with the law is an example of the racial bias often seen in policing minorities who are caught with marijuana.

“It’s personal. I was on [Interstate 95] in Virginia when I was pulled over and arrested for cannabis possession,” she told ABC News. “Born and raised in Virginia, I didn’t think that would happen.”

Penny paid nearly $3,500 to expunge her record after being charged with possession. She said she believes it was only because she was able to get the help of an attorney. It was a difficult process, she said, even “for someone who’s reasonably resourced.”

“But for someone who’s not, this becomes a game-changer in the worst way,” she said.

Penny worked for several Fortune 500 companies as a consultant before founding cannabis consulting firm Budding Solutions. She said she thinks wielding her skills in compliance and business development will not only help cannabis businesses thrive but will also balance the scales of justice for minorities.

“It lit a fire under me to make legalization happen in a way that people who were not interested in consuming this plant or being part of this industry would fully understand why legalization is so important and how equitable legalization can impact your life, whether you’re touching this plant or not,” she said.

Decriminalizing marijuana possession first and foremost is important, she said, because if legalization is “truly going to prioritize racial equity and the harm that’s been done, then we needed to stop the harm as soon as possible.”

Like in Colorado, other states are increasingly seeing the revenue from their cannabis sales as a source of funding to pursue racial equity and economic opportunity, Freedman said.

“A lot of the conversation now is, how do you make sure that the economic opportunities available from a new economy are there for the communities most harmed by the war on drugs?” he said.

A resolution passed in Evanston, Illinois, in March would provide reparations to the communities hit the hardest: A portion of tax revenues from cannabis sales would go toward a $10 million fund over 10 years to help pay for home repairs or down payments for Black residents who’ve faced historically unfair housing practices.

In Virginia, the law to legalize cannabis includes the so-called Cannabis Equity Reinvestment Fund, which would direct 30% of tax revenue to communities that have been overpoliced for marijuana-related crimes.

“We have a lot of hopes on the commercial market here, particularly in Virginia,” said activist Chelsea Higgs Wise, executive director of the group Marijuana Justice. “But it is going to be a hard push to truly make that equitable, and we would like to really say that this is a first step forward. This is a progressive step forward.”

In Washington, D.C., Greene says she also feels compelled to reinvest the fruits of her labor into her community. Along with opening Anacostia Organics in her own neighborhood, she also employs people who live there and teaches them the inner workings of the industry so that they, too, can one day build up.

Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

0
comments



iStock/fredrocko

(NEW YORK) -- Ford is recalling over 660,000 SUVs due to loose roof rail covers that can detach while the vehicle is in motion and “create a hazard for others on the road.”

The recall affects 2016-2019 Ford Explorers. More than 620,000 of the SUVs are in the U.S.

According to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA), the retention pins in the part can loosen and allow the roof rail covers to detach from the vehicle. To fix the issue, dealers will install push-pins and replace any damaged rail clips and roof rail covers, NHTSA said.

Ford said it was not aware of any reports of accidents or injuries related to the recall.

ABC News’ Gio Benitez contributed to this report.

 

Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

0
comments



Sundry Photography/iStock

(NEW YORK) -- SpaceX CEO Elon Musk announced his private space company was launching a lunar satellite mission dubbed "Doge-1" early next year that will be paid for entirely with the cryptocurrency dogecoin.

The price of dogecoin, a digital currency which originally started as a joke, reacted tepidly on Monday to the Sunday evening announcement, rising by just a few percentage points.

The mission will be the "1st crypto in space" and the "1st meme in space," the chief executive wrote on Twitter Sunday.

The announcement was confirmed by Canada-based Geometric Energy Corporation, an energy and logistics firm that said in a separate statement that the mission will be "the first-ever commercial lunar payload in history paid entirely with DOGE" and that the launch is scheduled for the first quarter of 2022.

The company said it is partnering with SpaceX to launch a small satellite as a ride-share on a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket as part of an upcoming lunar payload mission.

"Having officially transacted with DOGE for a deal of this magnitude, Geometric Energy Corporation and SpaceX have solidified DOGE as a unit of account for lunar business in the space sector," Geometric Energy's Chief Executive Officer Samuel Reid said in a statement Sunday.

Tom Ochinero, SpaceX's vice president of commercial sales, added that the mission "will demonstrate the application of cryptocurrency beyond Earth orbit and set the foundation for interplanetary commerce."

He continued: "We're excited to launch DOGE-1 to the Moon!"

The announcement also comes just one day after Musk hosted NBC's late-night comedy show "Saturday Night Live," making multiple references to dogecoin throughout.

At one point on the show, Musk referred to the so-called "meme" cryptocurrency as a "hustle." Dogecoin's price, which has been volatile for months, fell sharply during Musk's "SNL" appearance, but rebounded slightly afterwards.

Dogecoin is up by some 9,000% since the beginning of the year, but as of Monday afternoon is still only trading at about 50 cents per coin.

Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

0
comments



gopixa/iStock

(DETROIT) -- Over 620,000 Ford Explorers are being recalled in the U.S. because of roof rails that could fly off while driving.

The automaker says retention pins can come loose and allow the rails to come off, presenting a danger to others driving near the vehicles. The recall covers 2016 to 2019 model year Explorers.

The fix is relatively simple. A dealer will have to install push pins to keep the rail down and check for any broken rail clips.  

Ford says it is not aware of any accidents or injures connected to the faulty rails, but there have been reports of the roof rails coming off while driving.

Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

0
comments



SondraP/iStock

(NEW YORK) -- If you’re looking to move, it appears you’re not the only one.

If you take a look at today’s real estate market, it seems like everyone got the same idea at the same time. In fact, home prices have soared to new records - up more than 17% from last year.

So given the hot market, is it better to buy or rent right now?

ABC News’ chief business, economics and technology correspondent Rebecca Jarvis weighed in on the question Monday on Good Morning America:

Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

0
comments



Crocs

(NEW YORK) -- It's been over a year since the coronavirus pandemic shut down the world, and medical professionals continue to show up and help those in need.

That's a huge part of the reason why Crocs is bringing back its "Free Pair for Healthcare program," which recognizes and provides comfort to health care heroes who have been on fighting on the front lines.

On May 10, the shoe brand known for its comfortable foam clogs, is kicking off National Nurses Week with plans to give away 10,000 pairs of Crocs at Work™ shoes per day to front-line caregivers in the United States.

Starting at noon ET, the Crocs website will begin accepting requests and will remain open until that day's free pair allotment is fulfilled.

To date, Crocs has donated over 860,000 pairs of shoes globally (valued at $40 million) to health care workers fighting the battle toward putting an end to COVID-19.

Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

0
comments



iStock/AUDINDesign

(NEW YORK) -- Berkshire Hathaway's Class A shares performed well this week in the wake of the company's annual shareholder meeting.

Too well for NASDAQ’s computer system, in fact.

CEO and Chairman Warren Buffett has famously refused to split the stock, which companies do to lower the price of a stock to make it more attractive to investors, because of his emphasis on attracting long-term investors.

With that, the share price moved past $420,000 -- and passed a threshold NASDAQ’s computer system was not designed to handle. The current system can only manage prices up to $429,496.7295, as The Wall Street Journal explained in depth, and Berkshire's share price was continuing to climb.

Recognizing this could be a problem, NASDAQ made the decision to temporarily stop publishing the last sale information of the stock when it came within 2% of the max threshold, which happened Tuesday.

"Data integrity is of utmost importance at Nasdaq, we therefore instituted a temporary measure starting May 4, 2021 to ensure that no incorrect data is disseminated prior to the completion of a technical upgrade," a NASDAQ spokesperson said in a statement obtained by ABC News. "As a result, the real-time price information of the sole affected security (BRK.A) will not be available on Nasdaq proprietary data feeds until May 17, 2021."

NASDAQ already had a fix on the way. Last month, the exchange announced it would be upgrading its system from the current 4-byte price upper limit to an 8-byte long-form trade message. That update will be effective May 17, at which point the data on Berkshire's Class A shares will be fully back up.

No other company comes close to Buffett's mammoth share price. The next closest, according to The Wall Street Journal, is NVR, Inc., which, as of Friday, was at just over $5,200.

Meanwhile, Berkshire's Class A share price has continued to rise, climbing above $437,000 Friday.

 

Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

0
comments



iStock/alvarez

(MIAMI) -- A Miami baker is using her culinary skills to give back on Mother's Day.

Sherronda Daye, 41, is a mother of two daughters, an 11- and 21-year-old. She's also the owner of Sweet Jalane's, a dessert-catering company; Defense Tea, which sells locally sourced immune-boosting drinks; and the Sweet Exchange, which hosts events to provide food for those in need and to address social issues.

In honor of Mother's Day, she launched the 100 Cakes in 10 Days project, where, for every bundt cake purchased, another will be donated to families that have lost children. The goal is to donate at least 100 cakes in the time leading up to the holiday.

While the cakes are always given to families that have lost a child, the circumstances surrounding it vary, and each year Daye partners with a different organization to accomplish the task. This year, she's working with the nonprofit Miami Children's Initiative, which will give the cakes to families whose children have died from gun violence or illness.

"We just kind of look at what's happening in the world, and where the most loss or the most impact can be given," Daye told "Good Morning America."

The inspiration for the project is personal, Daye said. Her own mother, Sherron Jalane Wilder, unexpectedly passed away in 2014. At first, grief, Daye said, demoralized her at work, but in 2016, she took the pain of loss and used it to move forward.

"I remembered a letter that I found in my mother's Bible when I was cleaning up her things after she passed. That letter told me to never stop doing this, that I had finally found my purpose in life -- making somebody's life better," Daye said. "And so I was like, okay, it's Mother's Day. If I'm feeling this grief, and I'm grown, there has to be other mothers and other people, right?"

Upon remembering the letter, Daye realized there were 10 days left until Mother's Day and came up with the idea for the project. She has been doing it every year since.

"It's just simply my way to connect with my mom on Mother's Day, because I am mothering my own children while I'm motherless," Daye said. "So when it gets around this time of year, I have a choice. I can wallow in my grief or I can use my bitterness to make somebody else's life sweeter."

Daye doesn't have a formal education in the culinary arts -- she has a bachelor's degree in chemistry and psychology and an MBA in health service administration -- and used to work as a chief of staff for a county commissioner until 2010, until they lost a reelection bid.

"Here I was, without an idea of what to do. I was in the garage praying and I just felt the need to go in the kitchen and bake. And I was like, this is a joke. I don't bake," Daye said. "But I got out of their car, went in the kitchen, and baked all day. I baked everything I could get my hands on."

She added: "I don't really know where this baking thing comes from. Food was and is just a way that our family has always connected, whether it's over a pot of gumbo, a fish fry, or crab or crawfish boil."

What initially started as a coping mechanism turned into Daye's means of survival and purpose?

"Anybody will get up every day and do a job that they feel is truly connected to their purpose and to the whole reason why you were placed on this Earth," she said. "I just truly believe that I found it. Baking opens the door for me to get in the room and do what it is I need to do. And I wouldn't trade this for the world."

It's important to Daye that she uses her skills to give back to the community at large.

"I want to leave this life empty, meaning anything that I had inside of me that was supposed to be given to someone else, I gave it," she said. "Empty yet full because in return I will receive everything that I'm supposed to have. It's just really who I am, and it has worked for me for 41 years. So I guess I better keep doing it."

 

Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

0
comments



ablokhin/iStock

(WASHINGTON) -- U.S. employers added 266,000 jobs to their payrolls last month, the latest figures released Friday by the Labor Department show.

The number was significantly lower than the 770,000 jobs added in March and the 536,000 added in February.

The biggest increases in employment in April occurred in leisure and hospitality, other services and local government education, according to the Labor Department.

Meanwhile, the unemployment rate rose slightly from 6% to 6.1% last month.

Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

0
comments