The latest news around across America, from RogueValleyMagazine.com
FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 20, 2019
Walmart announced today it will stop selling all e-cigarettes in its U.S. stores, citing regulatory uncertainty around the vaping devices after the White House announced plans to ban most flavors.
The world’s biggest retailer said it would stop carrying the devices after it winds down its current inventory of e-cigarettes. It carries a variety of e-cigarette brands such as Njoy and Blu, as well as market leader Juul.
“Given the growing federal, state and local regulatory complexity and uncertainty regarding e-cigarettes, we plan to discontinue the sale of electronic nicotine delivery products at all Walmart and Sam’s Club U.S. locations,” a Walmart spokeswoman said.
In May Walmart said it would raise the minimum age to purchase tobacco products to 21 in all stores and would stop selling fruit-flavored e-cigarettes, amid pressure from regulators to curb use by children and teens.
President Trump announced plans last week to ban all flavored e-cigarettes, including mint and menthol, citing a surge in underage vaping. The move poses a major threat to a fast-growing market dominated by Juul Labs Inc.
At the same time, health officials are investigating hundreds of lung ailments linked to vaping in recent weeks. They haven’t identified the precise cause, but most of the patients have reported vaping marijuana products. Others say they have only vaped nicotine products.
So far, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has identified 530 confirmed or probable cases of vaping-associated pulmonary illnesses. There have been eight deaths.
Sanctions on Iran mount. The U.S. has imposed more sanctions on the Iranian national bank in the wake of attacks on Saudi oil facilities that the Trump administration has said were carried out by that country.
“We’ve never done it at this level,” Mr. Trump said of the sanctions. He was speaking to reporters in the Oval Office where he was meeting with Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison.
Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said the new sanctions cut off the last remaining source of funds for Iran.
“It’s too bad what’s happening with Iran. It’s going to hell,” Mr. Trump said. “All they have to do is stop with the terror.”
Mr. Trump has declared the U.S. “locked and loaded” and ready to respond to the Saudi attacks, but, aside from the sanctions, the White House is pursuing an international coalition to exert pressure on Iran through the United Nations as its chief response.
Bird populations across North America—from common sparrows to threatened species—are plummeting.
In the last five decades, studies released today reveal that North America’s overall bird population has dropped 29% since 1970, with about 3 billion fewer birds now than nearly 50 years ago, according to a study published Thursday in Science.
Described as unprecedented by researchers and scientists, the findings display a new and unexpected assessment of the bird population across the continent. The research also is a grim indicator of the overall health of the environment and reflects what may be occurring in other less closely observed animals, said Ken Rosenberg, a conservation scientist at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology who was the study’s lead author.
“Birds are literally the canary in the coal mine,” he said.
The loss was particularly profound for grassland birds—which include more common species like sparrows and finches—with its population falling 53%. The decline of these birds, known for their adaptability to human landscapes, in particular surprised researchers.
PENNSYLVANIA MAN DROPPED SMALL EXPLOSIVES FROM DRONE
Federal prosecutors accuse a Pennsylvania man of targeting his ex-girlfriend in a series of explosions. They say the man dropped explosive devices from a drone onto his ex-girlfriend’s property, rattling the neighborhood. The man is not directly charged with detonating any of the explosives, but he is charged with knowingly operating an aircraft, the drone, without registration.
SCHOOL SHOOTING-THEMED SWEATSHIRTS DENOUNCED
The men’s clothing brand Bstroy is being slammed by, well, everyone, for their fall collection of school shooting-themed sweatshirts. At a fashion show, models wore the bullet-hole riddled sweatshirts bearing the respective names of three mass shootings that killed 56 people: Stoneman Douglas, Sandy Hook and Columbine High School.
… Needless to say, people are not happy about this. Within days of the Bstroy posting the shirts to Instagram, survivors and offended members of the general public slammed the designs, accusing the company of attempting to make money off of tragedy.
WHAT OVER 45ers WANT TO DO BEFORE THEY DIE
As we get older, our lists of things we want to do before we die becomes more important. Those over the age of 45 want to: See the Northern Lights; travel first class; buy a vacation home; go on a cruise; research their family tree; go on safari; learn a new language; ride in a hot air balloon; learn to play an instrument; write a novel; swim with dolphins; be an extra on a TV show/film; go to Asia; walk a daughter down the aisle; learn to paint; learn to fly a plane; sky-dive; learn photography; revisit my honeymoon destination; get a tattoo; go to a nude beach; run a marathon; get a cat; ride a motorcycle; bungee jump; go skiing; learn to bake/cook; sing in public; learn a new sport.
UPS UNIFORMS ARE GETTING A REDESIGN
UPS’ familiar brown uniforms are getting their first major redesign since 1925. The company’s 125,000 global delivery workers will soon have new clothing options in performance fabrics, adorned with an enlarged UPS logo. The fashion update will involve only new styles — there will be no change to the uniform’s famous brown color.
… Referring to its drivers as “industrial athletes,” UPS (UPS) said in a statement that the newly refreshed uniforms would improve their “comfort, safety and performance.”
BONNIE AND CLYDE’S SAWED-OFF SHOTGUN HITTING THE AUCTION BLOCK
Bonnie and Clyde’s sawed-off shotgun from the 1933 shootout at their Joplin, Missouri, hideout is up for auction today (Friday). Auction company RR Auction estimates a final sale of around $75,000.
… RR Auction is also auctioning off the wristwatch Clyde wore when he died, a bulletproof vest found in his car, and a black book of poems that Bonnie wrote in 1932 while jailed in Texas for a bungled hardware store robbery.
95-YEAR-OLD WORLD WAR II GUNNER GETS BRONZE STAR
A 96-year-old veteran described as “the most lethal American tank gunner in World War II” received a Bronze Star nearly 75 years after his service. Clarence Smoyer of Allentown, Pennsylvania, came to the nation’s capital expecting to head to the Pentagon and sign copies of Spearhead, a book by detailing his service as a tank gunner during World War II. He was instead greeted by a full Army color guard and a special ceremony at the World War II Memorial.
… Smoyer, known as “the hero of Cologne,” was told he would receive a Bronze Star during the war, but days later he was spotted talking to German children and scouring his pockets for bubblegum to give the kids. He was charged with fraternization with the enemy and forfeited his ability to receive a medal of valor. But decades later, the author of Spearhead helped convince the Army to reverse the decision so that Smoyer could get the same honor as others who served alongside him.
… The Bronze Star is a medal awarded to soldiers who show heroic or meritorious achievement or service in a combat zone.
STUDENT’S QUESTIONABLE SCHOOL LUNCH POST GOES VIRAL
A Minnesota student’s Facebook post has gone viral after she shared an alarming image of a meal one school attempted to pass off as a suitable lunch. Maryn Holler, a student at Apollo High School in St. Cloud, was left feeling both thankful and “sad” last week after she paid for and received the school lunch. Sitting on a relatively empty tray were a handful of baby carrots, a packet of marinara sauce and an opened hot dog bun with melted cheese.
… Holler wrote on Facebook: “Alright so i paid for this to eat at lunch today. I thank God everyday that my family has the money where i get to go home and eat actual food. there are kids at this school who this is ALL THEY GET TO EAT, and we were given a hotdog bun with cheese. it’s honestly sad to know that we go to school and pay around 3 dollars for something that cost .50 cents to make.” • LINK
… The school district later shared on Facebook that it had goofed: “Tried a new menu item today at lunch and we hear it was not a winner! Going forward, we will gather input from our students on new menu options. Thanks for the feedback!”
MAN TO DRINK SHOT WITH HIS OWN SEVERED TOE IN IT
When Nick Griffiths lost his big toe to frostbite in February last year, he gave it a second life. This June, the British man donated his detached digit to a bar in Canada, which has a decades-long tradition of serving a whiskey shot garnished with a dehydrated human toe. Next week, Griffiths will reunite with his severed appendage. The legendary $5 drink, called the Sourtoe Cocktail, has been served at Yukon’s Downtown Hotel since 1973. Drinkers must touch their lips to the toe to earn a certificate of completion. To date, more than 90,000 have.
… To join the club, you don’t have to swallow the toe, or even put it in your mouth. But there is one rule: “You can drink it fast. You can drink it slow. But your lips must touch the gnarly toe.” The toe is mummified, dry and blackish-brown. It is stored in a jar of salt in the warmth of the furnace room for preservation. There are currently two toes in stock, rotated out until they decay into useless stubs.
AVOCADO TOAST IS NOW ICE CREAM
If you once thought that by 2019 you’d see billboards for “Avocado Toast: The Movie” and find “Avocado Toast Magazine” on store shelves, well, those two things haven’t happened. But what has? A dessert that pays offbeat homage to the trendy ‘n tasty toast.
… West coast ice cream company Salt & Straw is currently scooping up a fresh flavor called Avocado Toast Supreme. There’s vanilla ice cream, avocado chunks, and salt and pepper. For the ‘toast’ part of the dessert, there are fresh bakery croutons mixed in to give it some chewiness.
AMERICANS WASTE A SHOCKING AMOUNT OF FOOD EVERY YEAR
A new study says Americans throw away 103 pounds of spoiled food from their fridge every single year. That adds up to 6,180 pounds over the average adult lifetime. … The most commonly wasted foods:
- Leafy greens
WALGREENS WILL DELIVER FOOD AND MEDS MINUTES AFTER YOU ORDER
Walgreens has teamed up with drone delivery service Wing to bring food and beverages, over-the-counter medication and other items to customers. The testing will begin next month in Virginia and will offer more than 100 products and pre-built ‘packs’ for purchase in the Wing app.
… Approximately 78 percent of the U.S. population lives within five miles of a Walgreens store.
RACCOONS PHOTOBOMBED COUPLE’S WEDDING PHOTOS
You’ve seen dogs in wedding photos and cats in wedding photos, but last weekend a whole new kind of creature decided to come out of the woodwork for a very special couple’s nuptials. On September 14, prior to their wedding ceremony in the Tulip Garden at San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park, Zach Levenberg and Sarah Schaaf decided to take “first look” photos in private.
… Their photographer, Kathryn White, was all ready to capture the moment when Levenberg would see Schaaf in her wedding gown for the first time, but then, there was an unexpected surprise: a group of raccoons emerged to get their own look at the soon-to-be newlyweds. White wound up snapping photos that look like they came straight out of a fairytale book. • IMAGE
… White suggested fleeing the scene, so Levenberg and Schaaf stepped off the trail, but the raccoons continued to follow them. Luckily they were curious and friendly. The raccoons walked on the path behind the couple, then went on their way.
2017 WAS FIRST YEAR FIREARMS KILLED MORE PEOPLE THAN CARS
The number of Americans who died from firearms surpassed those who died in car accidents for the first time in 2017, according to a new report. The report found that nearly 40,000 people were killed in the U.S. by a gun, including approximately 2,500 school-age children. In 2017, 37,133 people died in motor vehicle crashes.
Additionally, the report found that race and where you live are key indicators in tracking gun violence and deaths. The report found that rural states have the highest rates of gun violence “measured as a share of their economies,” including Mississippi, Alabama, Arkansas, Louisiana and West Virginia.
TACO BELL RELEASED HALLOWEEN COSTUMES
Halloween is quite a bit away but let’s be real here: you’re going wait until the last minute and then panic. Well this year, that doesn’t need to happen because Taco Bell has you and your loved ones covered with some iconic Halloween costumes inspired by classic menu items.
… The chain released a legit costume collection featuring outfits based on Taco Bell’s hot sauces — hot, fire, verde, and diablo — are represented
… In addition to the hot sauce outfits, you can also don a Cheesy Gordita Crunch Tunic, or purchase a 7-Layer Burrito Baby Bunting, a costume that turns your baby into a little baby burrito. Get it all at TacoBellShop.com.
… Oh, and Taco Bell has released wallpapers for your phone.
MEN SAY THIS IS THEIR TOP TURN-OFF
While guys are not fans of women with false eyelashes or fake tans, their number one turn-off is too much makeup, according to a new survey.
EX-DISNEY EMPLOYEE STOLE COSTUMES TO SELL ON BLACK MARKET
A former Disney World employee and his cousin are accused of stealing clothing and wigs from Disney rides and then selling them on the black market. Last year someone had broken into the backstage area of a retired Epcot exhibit and taken an animatronic character’s clothing. Detectives found that the character Buzzy’s green military-style cap, red bomber jacket and his custom rubber hands were gone. Police say Buzzy’s costume was sold for thousands to collectors.
PEPSI MADE LIMITED-EDITION BOTTLES OF ORANGE-COLORED SODA
Pepsi is going orange for a limited time. The company is teaming up with the Cleveland Browns and Sunday Night Football to create “Believeland” Pepsi in a bright orange hue. The drink was made in honor of the first time Cleveland will be featured on Sunday Night Football in 11 years.
… If you want to get your hands on this special soda, you’ll have to live in, or visit, Cleveland. Pepsi only made 1,100 bottles of the stuff — 100 for each year Cleveland has waited.