Wednesday, December 23, 2020



UPS driver surprised by customers with check for new roof

A United Parcel Service driver from St. Louis, was surprised by more than 60 of her customers and their dogs with a check for a new roof. Residents on the woman’s delivery route gathered to surprise the driver of more than 23 years. She initially came back to the neighborhood because she was told there was a missing package. Instead, the beloved driver was led blindfolded down the street to where she received a check for a new roof. In all, the plan took less than two weeks to put together, said one of the organizers of the GoFundMe that raised money for the new roof. A few weeks ago, the delivery lady mentioned she was looking to get a new roof next summer. Turned out that one of the supporters and people on that street works in roofing, so he had an associate put together an estimate. Once he learned the total cost, the organizer set up the GoFundMe, and word traveled fast as several thousand dollars were raised in about two days. Some of the delivery lady’s co-workers covered her shift during the presentation. Others showed up to watch, making sure to park their trucks a few blocks away, because the neighborhood dogs are used to running to her truck for a special treat. Some residents said she has even been known to run up and down the block delivering packages, ensuring she can spare a minute to pet the dogs along the way. That same level of enthusiasm remained after the surprise when she handed the check to her daughter and finished the day delivering her final 20 packages. (St. Louis Post Dispatch)


Police department in Arkansas hands out toys and turkeys rather than tickets

Instead of handing out tickets for speeding, Marmaduke, Arkansas police are giving out gifts. Members of the police department handed out toys to kids and 40 turkeys to families during random traffic stops and home visits recently. Police Chief said that 2020 was a rough year and they wanted to help in any way that they could. “People have lost their jobs, they haven’t been able to work or work as much,” the Police chief said. “We want to make sure that everyone can give.” The department used toys they received during a recent toy drive. The Police Chief said he is thankful for the support he and his officers received from the community. Officials said they received a great response and they were thankful for the opportunity to make Christmas a little more special this year. (KAIT)


Man on powered parachute dressed as Santa rescued from power lines

A man dressed as Santa Claus while on a powered parachute was rescued after getting stuck on some power lines in Rio Linda, California. The California Highway Patrol’s North Sacramento Office also responded to the rescue, saying in a Facebook post that: “Turns out Santa was trying to get some last-minute fun in before the holiday and got into a hot wire situation.” Neighbors watched from the ground as crews worked. The Federal Aviation Administration said the incident happened around 11 a.m. and the Santa had taken off near a school in Rio Linda. “A powered parachute lost power on takeoff near a school in Rio Linda, California, and then hit and became suspended in power lines around 11:00 a.m. local time,” said a spokesperson with the FAA. Power was shut off to about 200 customers in the Rio Linda area during the rescue, according to Sac Metro Fire, who added that the man was trying to do something nice for kids in the community. Thankfully, the Santa wasn’t hurt in the incident. (KCRA)


She put cat litter in an Amazon package, and a porch pirate stole it 40 minutes later

After three years and roughly a dozen stolen packages, a woman and her neighbors was fed up. Living in a row home on a busy downtown street in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada, the 54-year-old said she and her neighbors knew they had to do something to stop porch pirates from stealing any packages. So they plotted and then she got a spur of the moment idea. “While I was cleaning the cat litter, I thought, ‘It wouldn’t take much to fill a box with this stuff”, she said. “You know, it’s Christmas time and maybe I should help Santa with the naughty list, and instead of coal, we can give the porch pirates some cat crap.'” She dumped the cat litter into the box, taped it up and left it outside her front door. She positioned the box so the Amazon logos stayed face up and would look like any other package. Roughly 40 minutes later, a man walked up to her front step, picked up the package and left. Her doorbell video shows the man tucking the package, full of fecal matter, into his jacket before walking away. “We did a happy dance and celebrated our just deserts,” she said.  But she didn’t report the theft to police. She said she lost confidence in them after their inability to prevent previous thefts. Instead, she posted about it on social media, garnering praise and support from others. “It just goes to show you how many people are frustrated by this.” (CBC)


McDonald’s Is Releasing A New Burger Made With Spam and Oreos

Set to roll out at McDonald’s China, America’s favorite burger joint is now delivering one of the most unique burgers out there: a Spam burger topped with Oreo crumbles. The announcement was made on Chinese social media platform Weibo recently. Mixing up a combination of sweets and canned meat, the new mash-up “burger” is a limited-time menu item that will become available on December 21. Unfortunately there are only plans to make 400,000 of the unique burgers. So, if you’re not able to grab one, you can always try your hand at replicating one at home. (Delish)


Small businesses’ winter woes deepen

According to recent Bureau of Labor Statistics data, many smaller companies have been forced to endure a “second wave” of higher job losses compared to the larger ones, as government aid dwindled. The research also shows that performing arts businesses, travel agents and bus operators have been hardest hit; other small businesses, including highway construction firms, specialty contractors, research firms and lawn and garden equipment stores, are seeing employment increases. (The Wall Street Journal)


Tech firms hire remote work execs

In another sign that pandemic-induced remote work is here to stay, tech firms are taking on a new C-suite role: head of remote work. While Facebook filled a director of remote work position in November, identity and access management company Okta recently did something similar. According to experts, employees have “jumped ahead a decade” on how we want to work, with more companies understanding the need for someone to oversee the longer-term shift to remote work, after the pandemic. (The Globe and Mail)


Google, Facebook Agreed to Team Up Against Possible Antitrust Action

Facebook and Google agreed to join forces to defend themselves from possible antitrust investigations, according to an unredacted version of the lawsuit filed by 10 attorney generals. The lawsuit claims that Facebook agreed not to compete with Google’s online advertising tools in return for special treatment. According to an unredacted version of the lawsuit, the tech giants were aware that their agreement could be investigated by antitrust regulators and discussed a strategy to defend themselves from such investigations. According to the unredacted version of the lawsuit, the companies had agreed to “cooperate and assist each other in responding to any Antitrust Action.” Facebook COO described the agreement as “a big deal strategically.” Google has denied using monopolistic practices to control the online ad market. Google faces two other major lawsuits over alleged monopolistic practices, one filed by the Justice Department in October, and another one filed by the attorneys general of more than 30 states last week. (The Wall Street Journal)


90-year-old woman makes dozens of handmade quilts for those in need this year

A 90-year-old Oregon woman is using her quilt-making skills to make dozens of quilts for those in need. She is a resident at Desert Sage Manor in Hermiston, Oregon. For over 20 years, she has been making handmade quilts for the Hermiston Police Department’s annual Christmas Express program that provides food and resources for families during the holidays. She has made over 2,000 quilts for the police department. She was even given a plaque from the Hermiston Police Department for her efforts. This year, with the help of staff, she made over 100 handmade quilts and plans to make more this upcoming year. “It feels good to do something for them. Thank you for the community for the donations of the fabric, that’s really something that’s very important,” the quiltmaker said. She also makes quilts for other local organizations in the area. (KEPR)


Apple plans to launch a self-driving car for the mass market in 2024

According to people familiar with Apple’s “Project Titan” self-driving venture, the company is developing a low-cost, long-range battery for the car. The battery is the most expensive part of an electric car and developing a low-cost one could make Apple’s vehicle more affordable. One of the sources said that ultimately, Apple may decide to integrate its self-driving technology into an existing vehicle instead of designing a new one, but if Apple does decide to launch its own vehicle, it will likely rely on a third-party for the manufacturing process. The company is working with outside partners to develop the lidar sensors that allow self-driving cars to “see” their surroundings. (Reuters)


In Washington D.C., Congress finally passed a stimulus package

It’ll bring back extra federal unemployment benefits ($300/week) and one-time $600 payments for millions of Americans, but tucked into the $900 billion package are some big benefits for businesses, too. Here’s what did get funding: 

  1. Small businesses – The Payroll Protection Program will get another $285 billion. What’s different this time? Nonprofits and news outlets can now apply, and Congress is allowing businesses to use the money for expenses outside payroll, including PPE for employees.
  2. The bill extends employee retention tax credits first set up under the CARES Act. They cover up to $5,000 in wages for eligible employees whose work was suspended because of government restrictions. There’s also a tax credit for employers who offer paid sick leave. Clean energy. More than $35 billion will go to energy R&D and the extensions of tax credits for solar and wind projects.
  3. Sweetgreen – The tax break, pushed by the White House to help revive the restaurant industry, offers deductions for business meals, including delivery and carryout. It’s been criticized as a subsidy for “three-martini power lunches” for execs. 
  4. Your local Battle of the Bands host – Independent movie theaters, live-venue operators, and other cultural institutions are getting $15 billion. 
  5. Transportation – The bill has set aside $15 billion for the airline industry; $10 billion for highways; $16 billion for transit and city buses; $2 billion for airports; and $1 billion for Uncle Joe-beloved Amtrak. 
  6. Odds and ends – Schools and colleges are getting $82 billion to update air systems and $10 billion for child-care assistance. About $7 billion will help expand broadband access. A permanent tax break for brewers, winemakers, and distillers. And expanded eligibility for federal unemployment benefits for contract and gig workers through mid-March.

(United States House Of Representatives)


Overloaded with work?

As more people work from home without in-person oversight, some employees are pushing for less “busy work” and more control over how they spend their time at the job. For those re-evaluating how they use their work time to cut down on burnout or improve productivity, suggestions include:

  • Prioritizing the tasks that support the employer’s core mission over ones done simply for tracking purposes, such as one-to-one catchups or formal processes for internal awards and grants.
  • Keeping meetings short and focused, with a limited number of attendees.
  • Finding the courage to turn down new projects, especially if you’re at a breaking point.

(The Wall Street Journal)


Nursing homes may not recover

Families are beginning to shun nursing homes in favor of home care, with elderly care centers seeing a drop in admissions rates across the U.S. as families look to avoid exposing loved ones not only to the virus, but the isolation that comes with strict health and security measures. Over 115,000 COVID-19 deaths have been linked to nursing home facilities in the U.S. The report argues that the trend looks long-lasting as health-monitoring technology improves and home care options expand. An earlier survey found that many nursing homes were at risk of bankruptcy. (Modern Health Care)


Wednesday Breaks In With:

  • Family Roots Day
  • Festivus
  • Forefathers Day
  • Human Light Celebration
  • Metric Conversion Day
  • Mezcal Day
  • Pfeffernusse Day

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