Brides-to-be offered free wedding gowns after dress chain closes

Jul 19, 2017 19

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — Brides are stepping up to help brides-to-be after the sudden bankruptcy of a national bridal dress chain left many without wedding dresses.

Women are using the hashtags #AlfredAngelo and #dressmatchmaker to find strangers who may have purchased wedding gowns from Alfred Angelo Bridal, the chain that suddenly closed its stores last week after nearly 80 years in business.

The bridal chain, which said on its website that it had more than 60 stores, informed customers via the website and messages on closed storefronts that it had filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy on July 14 and advised them to contact the chain’s bankruptcy trustee via email.

“We will post additional information regarding the status of pending orders on this website as it becomes available or otherwise contact you as we receive more information regarding your purchase,” reads the statement, in part, on Alfred Angelo’s website. “We apologize for the inconvenience and hardship resulting from this event. We appreciate your patience. Thank you.”

Amber McGraw, 27, said she paid $995 to purchase her wedding dress and accessories at an Alfred Angelo store near Columbus, Ohio, the same week the chain declared bankruptcy.

McGraw, a student who is also in the National Guard, took to Twitter to express her shock and fear that she wouldn’t have a dress for her September wedding to Derek Pack.

“When the news first broke I panicked because we’ve been engaged for seven years and I’ve been saving up this whole time,” McGraw told ABC News. “Not only am I out my wedding dress, but I’m out almost $1,000.”

Hundreds of miles away in Chicago, a stranger, Aly Porter, saw McGraw’s story online and wanted to help. Porter, who works in the technology industry, has for the past four years purchased new wedding dresses at discounted prices and donated them to a charity that provides the gowns to brides-to-be in the military.

“I had about 25 gowns in my basement getting ready to ship off to this organization,” Porter, a mother of two, told ABC News. “I had five dresses that happened to be in Amber’s size and so I offered them to her.”

Pryor sent photos of the dresses over Facebook to McGraw, who chose an Ian Stuart gown and veil that Pryor estimates would retail for over $7,500.

“I just knew that’s my dress,” McGraw said. “It’s the kind of dress you rip the pages out of the magazine for.”

She added, “I’ve got a Cinderella story. That’s for sure.”

Porter mailed the dress and accessories to McGraw on Monday.

“Truly, I dropped the box off at Fed Ex and my heart was full,” she said.

Cassandra Duck wore a dress she purchased from Alfred Angelo at her wedding three years ago. When the 33-year-old from Malden, Massachusetts, saw the chain had closed, she immediately posted an offer on Twitter to donate her dress to any bride-to-be in need.

“I put myself in these women’s shoes. This could have easily happened to me, too,” Duck told ABC News. “I took a loan out of my 401(k) to get my wedding dress. Who has an extra $1,000-plus laying around to get another one?”

She continued, “Then I thought about what I could do to help and my dress, although sentimental of course, was just sitting in the closet. I haven’t touched it since our wedding day.”

Duck said she has received positive feedback on Twitter, even from a dry cleaner owner in Michigan who offered to clean the dress for free.

Jennifer Gable, of Riverside, California, started a Twitter account for herself just to be able to offer the dress she wore at her own wedding to another future bride.

“I got married five years ago this month [and] I remember how exciting and stressful it was,” Gable, 29, told ABC News. “I would be devastated if I was in a situation where my dress was ripped out [from] under me with no warning.”

She added, “I love my dress but it’s literally just sitting my my closet so why not let another bride enjoy it.”

Retailers and wedding brands have also stepped-up to help brides-to-be left without wedding dresses.

The Knot has set up a dedicated email address, dress911@theknot.com, for brides affected by the Alfred Angelo closing.

“Our team at The Knot has been getting a lot of heartfelt messages from brides affected by this news and are working hard to help these brides find other options,” The Knot executive editor, Kristen Maxwell Cooper, said in a statement to ABC News. “While the details of each bride’s gown dilemma varies slightly, overall, these women are looking for an expert to speak with to ease their fears and find solutions, that’s where our team comes in. In addition to our dedicated email address where brides can reach members of our team, our editorial team at TheKnot.com is continuing to update our coverage with new details from Alfred Angelo as they become available, as well as new offerings from retailers across the nation.”

David’s Bridal is offering brides-to-be with receipts for Alfred Angelo dresses a discount of 30 percent off to purchase new bridal dresses, according to the chain’s website.

Alfred Angelo declined to provide a comment on its bankruptcy filing. Patricia Redmond, a lawyer for the company, described the outpouring of support for brides who have Alfred Angelo dresses on order as “truly inspiring” in an email to ABC News.

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Brides-to-be offered free wedding gowns after dress chain closes

Jul 19, 2017 0

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — Brides are stepping up to help brides-to-be after the sudden bankruptcy of a national bridal dress chain left many without wedding dresses.

Women are using the hashtags #AlfredAngelo and #dressmatchmaker to find strangers who may have purchased wedding gowns from Alfred Angelo Bridal, the chain that suddenly closed its stores last week after nearly 80 years in business.

The bridal chain, which said on its website that it had more than 60 stores, informed customers via the website and messages on closed storefronts that it had filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy on July 14 and advised them to contact the chain’s bankruptcy trustee via email.

“We will post additional information regarding the status of pending orders on this website as it becomes available or otherwise contact you as we receive more information regarding your purchase,” reads the statement, in part, on Alfred Angelo’s website. “We apologize for the inconvenience and hardship resulting from this event. We appreciate your patience. Thank you.”

Amber McGraw, 27, said she paid $995 to purchase her wedding dress and accessories at an Alfred Angelo store near Columbus, Ohio, the same week the chain declared bankruptcy.

McGraw, a student who is also in the National Guard, took to Twitter to express her shock and fear that she wouldn’t have a dress for her September wedding to Derek Pack.

“When the news first broke I panicked because we’ve been engaged for seven years and I’ve been saving up this whole time,” McGraw told ABC News. “Not only am I out my wedding dress, but I’m out almost $1,000.”

Hundreds of miles away in Chicago, a stranger, Aly Porter, saw McGraw’s story online and wanted to help. Porter, who works in the technology industry, has for the past four years purchased new wedding dresses at discounted prices and donated them to a charity that provides the gowns to brides-to-be in the military.

“I had about 25 gowns in my basement getting ready to ship off to this organization,” Porter, a mother of two, told ABC News. “I had five dresses that happened to be in Amber’s size and so I offered them to her.”

Pryor sent photos of the dresses over Facebook to McGraw, who chose an Ian Stuart gown and veil that Pryor estimates would retail for over $7,500.

“I just knew that’s my dress,” McGraw said. “It’s the kind of dress you rip the pages out of the magazine for.”

She added, “I’ve got a Cinderella story. That’s for sure.”

Porter mailed the dress and accessories to McGraw on Monday.

“Truly, I dropped the box off at Fed Ex and my heart was full,” she said.

Cassandra Duck wore a dress she purchased from Alfred Angelo at her wedding three years ago. When the 33-year-old from Malden, Massachusetts, saw the chain had closed, she immediately posted an offer on Twitter to donate her dress to any bride-to-be in need.

“I put myself in these women’s shoes. This could have easily happened to me, too,” Duck told ABC News. “I took a loan out of my 401(k) to get my wedding dress. Who has an extra $1,000-plus laying around to get another one?”

She continued, “Then I thought about what I could do to help and my dress, although sentimental of course, was just sitting in the closet. I haven’t touched it since our wedding day.”

Duck said she has received positive feedback on Twitter, even from a dry cleaner owner in Michigan who offered to clean the dress for free.

Jennifer Gable, of Riverside, California, started a Twitter account for herself just to be able to offer the dress she wore at her own wedding to another future bride.

“I got married five years ago this month [and] I remember how exciting and stressful it was,” Gable, 29, told ABC News. “I would be devastated if I was in a situation where my dress was ripped out [from] under me with no warning.”

She added, “I love my dress but it’s literally just sitting my my closet so why not let another bride enjoy it.”

Retailers and wedding brands have also stepped-up to help brides-to-be left without wedding dresses.

The Knot has set up a dedicated email address, dress911@theknot.com, for brides affected by the Alfred Angelo closing.

“Our team at The Knot has been getting a lot of heartfelt messages from brides affected by this news and are working hard to help these brides find other options,” The Knot executive editor, Kristen Maxwell Cooper, said in a statement to ABC News. “While the details of each bride’s gown dilemma varies slightly, overall, these women are looking for an expert to speak with to ease their fears and find solutions, that’s where our team comes in. In addition to our dedicated email address where brides can reach members of our team, our editorial team at TheKnot.com is continuing to update our coverage with new details from Alfred Angelo as they become available, as well as new offerings from retailers across the nation.”

David’s Bridal is offering brides-to-be with receipts for Alfred Angelo dresses a discount of 30 percent off to purchase new bridal dresses, according to the chain’s website.

Alfred Angelo declined to provide a comment on its bankruptcy filing. Patricia Redmond, a lawyer for the company, described the outpouring of support for brides who have Alfred Angelo dresses on order as “truly inspiring” in an email to ABC News.

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Report: Canadians buying more homes in U.S.

Jul 19, 2017 34

Joe Raedle/Getty Images(NEW YORK) — More Canadians are buying homes in the United States, according to a new report.

The National Association of Realtors reported that Canadians spent $19 billion — more than double the previous year — on homes in the U.S., with many of them based in Florida. Buyers are driven by rising costs of homes in Canada, according to the BBC.

The report, which covered sales of existing homes between April 2016 and March 2017, was based on a survey of about 6,000 real estate agents.

Purchases by foreigners increased more than 30 percent in that time frame, leading to a record $153 billion.

But this year may not see as much demand from foreigners, economist Lawrence Yun told the BBC.

He said that’s because of “stricter foreign government regulations” and the “uncertainty on policy surrounding U.S. immigration and international trade.”

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

American Airlines dedicates Boeing 777 to 91-year-old mechanic for 75 years of service

Jul 18, 2017 28

American Airlines(NEW YORK) — After 75 years with American Airlines, Azreil “Al” Blackman says he isn’t thinking about retirement.

“That’s not my style,” he told ABC News.

Based out of New York City his entire career, the 91-year-old aviation maintenance technician started off making 50 cents an hour as an apprentice in the sheet metal shop, when American was known as American Export Airlines.

Since then, Blackman has worked on some of aviation’s most storied aircraft, from the Sikorsky flying boat that kicked off American’s trans-Atlantic service, to the original jumbo jet, the Boeing 747.

The former U.S. Navy service member has dedicated his life to American Airlines aircraft.

On Tuesday, his long-time employer returned the favor.

At a ceremony at John F. Kennedy International Airport, a curtain dropped to reveal a Boeing 777 dedicated to his 75 years of service.

The aircraft is capable of holding at least 247 people and flying American Airlines’ longest routes. For the remainder of the jet’s life at American Airlines, his name and signature will be inscribed to the left of the aircraft’s main cabin door.

Guinness World Records also awarded Blackman with the title of “Longest career as an airline mechanic.”

At the Tuesday ceremony the New York native climbed into the jet — before it makes its inaugural trip to London Wednesday sporting its new paint job — and received a sky-high tour of his hometown.

Blackman took off from JFK at 2:59 p.m. and and flew north up the Hudson River to West Point before turning right and looping around the northern edge of Long Island at an altitude of just under 3,000 for before returning to the airport. The flight lasted about an hour-and-a-half to commemorate a lifetime’s worth of service to country’s largest airline.

“Slightly hazy,” he said of the view from the flight deck. “Very calm, quiet.”

Blackman says he has no plans to retire from his work any time soon.

“What’s the big deal about retirement, really? What do you do when you retire?” Blackman told ABC News. “You stay home and watch the television, that’s not my style.”

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Nasdaq continues win streak as Wall Street closes mixed

Jul 18, 2017 25

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — The Nasdaq Composite and S&P 500 led Wall Street with new records as the Dow lagged behind on Tuesday.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average slid 54.99 (-0.25 percent) to finish at 21,574.73.

The Nasdaq gained 29.87 (+0.47 percent) to close at 6,344.31, while the S&P 500 finished at 2,460.61, up 1.47 (+0.06 percent) from its open.

Crude oil was 1 percent higher with prices over $46 per barrel.

Winners and Losers:  Shares of Netflix, Inc. sky-rocketed 13.5 percent after the streaming service reported it added 5.2 million subscribers in the last three months, more than the 3.2 million they expected.

A weak sales forecast for Harley-Davidson, Inc. caused shares in the motorcycle manufacturer to tumble 6 percent.

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

House Republicans release their 2018 budget blueprint that targets social programs

Jul 18, 2017 20

iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) — House Republicans are proposing a $4 trillion budget for 2018 that includes deep cuts and reshaping of mandatory social programs such as Medicaid and food stamps, which they say have ballooned to unsustainable levels.

The House Budget Committee released a blueprint of its budget resolution Tuesday and plans to debate and make amends to the bill Wednesday.

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Netflix tops 100 million subscribers, company announces

Jul 18, 2017 23

Netflix(NEW YORK) — It’s official, Netflix has crossed the 100-million-subscriber mark.

In a letter to the company’s shareholders on Monday, Netflix announced that it finished June with 104 million subscribers.

The company reported that it added 5.2 million subscribers in the three months ending June 30, more than the 3.2 million the company expected. Most of those new subscribers — 4.1 million of them — came from overseas.

In his letter to investors, CEO Reed Hastings credited much of the company’s subscriber growth to its investment in original programming, although this year the company also began cancelling original shows it deemed under performing like The Get Down and Sense 8.

“As much as we dislike ending a series early, it consoles us that it frees up investment for another new show, or two. We are programming to please our members and we keep that as our guiding light,” Hastings wrote.  “We love it when we support a new series that has big impact like Stranger Things, Cable Girls and 13 Reasons Why.”

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Netflix tops 100 million subscribers, company announces

Jul 18, 2017 22

Netflix(NEW YORK) — It’s official, Netflix has crossed the 100-million-subscriber mark.

In a letter to the company’s shareholders on Monday, Netflix announced that it finished June with 104 million subscribers.

The company reported that it added 5.2 million subscribers in the three months ending June 30, more than the 3.2 million the company expected. Most of those new subscribers — 4.1 million of them — came from overseas.

In his letter to investors, CEO Reed Hastings credited much of the company’s subscriber growth to its investment in original programming, although this year the company also began cancelling original shows it deemed under performing like The Get Down and Sense 8.

“As much as we dislike ending a series early, it consoles us that it frees up investment for another new show, or two. We are programming to please our members and we keep that as our guiding light,” Hastings wrote.  “We love it when we support a new series that has big impact like Stranger Things, Cable Girls and 13 Reasons Why.”

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Girl Scout troop for the homeless in New York will expand to reach 500 girls and women

Jul 17, 2017 29

Courtesy of NYC Council Member Jimmy Van Bramer’s office(NEW YORK) — The nation’s first Girl Scouts troop dedicated to serving homeless girls and women is getting a huge boost.

Girl Scouts Troop 6000 in New York City will expand from about two dozen girls at one shelter to serve at least 500 in approximately 15 shelters across the city.

Girl Scouts of Greater New York will lead the expansion with an investment of more than $1 million over the next three years from the Mayor’s Fund to Advance NYC and the city’s Department of Homeless Services.

Barbara Murphy-Warrington, CEO of Girls Scouts of Greater New York, noted in a statement that the troop benefits both its girl members and the women in shelters who become troop leaders.

“We know Girl Scouting prepares girls to lead and gives them the skills and confidence they need to relentlessly pursue their goals,” Murphy-Warrington said. “We also know that adult troop leaders benefit personally and professionally. We can think of no greater calling as an organization than to provide our tried and tested programs to girls and women living in homeless shelters.”

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said that the troop for homeless girls, which formed earlier this year, “stole the hearts of New Yorkers and garnered support from people around the country.”

“We are proud to expand and support Troop 6000, allowing more young homeless children to participate in a program that is helping them cope and deal with the challenges they face every day,” he said in a statement.

The initiative was started by Giselle Burgess, a homeless woman who serves as a community engagement specialist for Girl Scouts of Greater New York.

She began the troop out of a Sleep Inn in Long Island City, Queens, an operating 10-floor hotel that services 100 homeless families. Troop 6000’s members range from kindergarten children to high school students, Meridith Maskara, the organization’s chief operating officer, told ABC News.

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

On 'Made in America week,' White House defends imported Trump products

Jul 17, 2017 27

OLIVIER DOULIERY/AFP/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) — As the White House kicks off its self-proclaimed “Made in America week,” shining a spotlight on products manufactured domestically, President Donald Trump’s spokesman was forced Monday to defend the fact that goods bearing the Trump name are frequently produced abroad.

Continuing the trend of themed weeks, such as “Infrastructure week” and “Energy week,” “Made in America week” finds the White House hosting a “product showcase” featuring a variety of items built in the U.S., the president delivering a speech encouraging domestic manufacturing and a ceremony commissioning the latest American-built Navy aircraft carrier.

But asked at Monday’s press briefing about whether the Trump Organization or Ivanka Trump brands would commit “to stop manufacturing wares abroad,” press secretary Sean Spicer shifted the focus to Trump’s attempts to cultivate other companies’ domestic production efforts.

“I think what’s really important is the president’s agenda: regulatory relief and tax relief, are focused on trying to make sure that all companies can hire here, can expand here, can manufacture here,” said Spicer.

On the matter of Trump-branded items, he added, “I can tell you that in some cases, there are certain supply chains or scalability that may not be available in this country.”

Questions about Trump products’ creation and assembly abroad have dogged the businessman-turned-president since first announcing his “America First” ambitions at the launch of his candidacy for president over two years ago.

During a memorable campaign stop in August 2016, Democratic rival Hillary Clinton held up a Trump-branded tie made China as she assailed the Republican nominee for suits stitched in Mexico, furniture created in Turkey and picture frames made in India.

Trump shrugged off the criticism during the campaign, telling ABC News that Clinton didn’t need to raise the issue because he readily took ownership of the foreign items, chalking up the decisions as a financial one given the costs of U.S. manufacturing. Trump pointed to the nature of the economy and blamed then-President Barack Obama’s policies for forcing his hand.

“Unfortunately my ties are made in China and I will say this, the hats — ‘Make America Great Again’ — I searched long and hard to find somebody that made the hats in this country,” Trump told ABC News in June 2016.

“I pay a lot more money. It is a very hard thing and it’s because they devalue their currency,” he added, referring to alleged Chinese efforts that made it less expensive to employ workers in the country.

The president partially chalked up the production imbalance to “unfair trade practices” as he spoke at the product showcase Monday afternoon. Touting job creation in the manufacturing sector since he took office, Trump promised that the country would “once again rediscover our heritage as a manufacturing nation.”

“We’re here to celebrate American manufacturing and showcase all the products of the 50 states made in the U.S.A,” said Trump. “Remember in the old days, they used to have ‘Made in the U.S.A.?’ ‘Made in America,’ but Made in the U.S.A.’ We’re going to start doing that again. We’re going to put that brand on our product because it means it’s the best.”

Comments about the Trump Organization’s business efforts by the president and his advisers have waned since his election, particularly as critics decry what they view as potential conflicts of interest. Spicer himself expressed discomfort in fielding the query on the topic Monday.

“Again, it’s not appropriate me for to stand up here and comment about a business and I believe that’s a little out of bounds,” he said, as the line of questioning wound down at the press briefing. “But again, I would go back to the president’s broader goal, which is to create investment here, to bring back the manufacturing base.”

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