How will Amazon's acquisition of Whole Foods affect how consumers shop?

Jun 19, 2017 24

Whole Foods Market(NEW YORK) — Last week, Amazon announced it had entered into a definitive agreement with Whole Foods Market to purchase the supermarket chain for approximately $13.7 billion.

But how will the deal, which is expected to close later this year, affect consumers?

ABC’s Chief Business and Economics Correspondent Rebecca Jarvis explains in the video below:

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Man inspired to adopt by film 'Antwone Fisher' celebrates first Father's Day

Jun 18, 2017 26

James Cotten(NEWARK, N.J.) — One man was inspired to make a major change in his life after seeing the 2002 film, “Antwone Fisher.”

“When I saw that movie, it was very touching,” James Cotten told ABC News.

“Antwone Fisher” — featuring and directed by Denzel Washington — centers on a man with a troubled past, played by Derek Luke, after he was abused in a foster home. After enlisting in the U.S. Navy, he’s inspired to reconnect with his mother in an effort to forgive her.

Cotten, a 39-year-old diversity sourcing specialist for a global chemical company, said that although he’s an only child, his parents have a combined total of 23 siblings.

“So it was really heartbreaking for me to even watch that [film],” Cotten continued. “To think there were people that didn’t necessarily have a family was very heartbreaking. Outside of church, I’ve never felt like I’ve been ministered to.”

The Newark, New Jersey man said he felt a calling to adopt a child. But he was waiting until the right time.

“I had set all of these goals for myself — when I buy a house, I’m actually going to do it,” he explained. “I thought I’d be married. I thought I’d be in a different place in my life by now. I had this checklist that I created… but it just became the right time.”

In 2013, Cotten began the adoption process. After three years, he finally got a call about a 3-year-old boy named Caleb, who is autistic and needed a home.

“Because of his profile, most households [couldn’t take in] an autistic kid with screaming bouts. Once I realized they didn’t have a place to put him, he just stayed, and we just figured it out,” he said, noting that before adopting him he had to foster Caleb.

Ten months later, on April 28, Cotten officially adopted Caleb. A photo of the two — with Cotten holding a sign that reads, “Today is my last day in foster care because I’m being adopted!” — went viral on Facebook.

Today Cotten, who is still a single dad, is celebrating his first Father’s Day. He said he’s most looking forward to being a family man.

“I’m looking forward to PTA meetings. I’m looking forward to school projects. I’m looking forward to helping out with school plays and dance class,” he said. “I’m looking forward to providing as much exposure as possible.”

“I was blessed as a kid to have the ability to go to other countries [and] dance classes thanks to my mom. And now that my mom is gone, I really look forward to giving him those experiences that my mom gave me,” Cotten added.

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

US stocks close slightly lower; Amazon to acquire Whole Foods

Jun 16, 2017 40

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — Wall Street closed slightly lower Friday after a major deal between Amazon and Whole Foods dragged down stocks.

The Dow Jones Jones Industrial Average gained 24.38 (+0.11 percent) to finish at 21,384.28.

The Nasdaq slid 13.74 (-0.22 percent) to close at 6,151.76, while the S&P 500 finished at 2,433.15, up 0.69 (+0.03 percent) from its open.

Crude oil was about 0.50 percent higher with prices under $45 per barrel.

Amazon:  Amazon announced it would acquire Whole Foods Market in a deal worth approximately $13.47 billion as the e-commerce giant takes a major step into the grocery market. Although the new partnership is still subject to regulatory approval, the news sent several retailers’ stocks plunging, including Costco, Target, and Walmart, which all sunk at least 5 percent. Shares of Amazon and Whole Foods were up 2 percent and 29 percent respectively.

Winners and Losers:  The Department of Justice is investigating defense contractor Booz Allen Hamilton’s accounting practices, causing shares to plummet 19 percent.

Biotech company Celgene was upgraded by Leerink Partners to Outperform, and its stock jumped over 1 percent.

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Mom turns to crowdfunding to pay daughter’s college tuition

Jun 16, 2017 30

Kendall Truex(BATTLE CREEK, Mich.) — A Michigan mom determined to send her daughter to college debt-free is turning to her community for help.

Lori Truex has been hitting the streets of Battle Creek, Michigan, while holding a sign that says, “Help Send a 4.0 Kid to College.”

The mom of three told ABC News that she started the campaign, “One Mom One Year,” out of “frustration” and “desperation” to pay for her daughter’s college education.

“Parents need to be talking about this,” Truex said. “It’s a dirty little secret they don’t want to admit to themselves, their coworkers and neighbors–some of us can’t afford to send our kids to college.”

She went on, “You either make too much for financial assistance or you don’t make enough to actually afford to pay for them. We’re truly the middle class. We’re stuck in the middle.”

Lori Truex’s daughter, Kendall Truex, 20, is transferring from Kellogg Community College to Michigan State University in the fall to study food science.

Lori Truex said her daughter received a Pell Grant of $1,770 and an MSU student aid grant for $3,600.

She is now left with a bill of $24,000 per year to attend the school.

On Wednesday, Lori Truex kicked off an official, 79-day fundraising campaign that’ll last until the end of summer. Then she’ll return to her full-time job as a bus driver.

Lori Truex will stand in various locations in her city while holding a sign asking strangers to contribute to her daughter’s college fund. In two days she has raised $200.

“I call it a social experiment,” Lori Truex said. “If you were being totally transparent and honest as to where this money was going would the community respond? It seems to be resonating with people.”

Kendall Truex told ABC News she was shocked when her mother told her about the plan to fund her tuition.

“It’s not in character for my mom,” Kendall Truex said. “For her being out there like this is a really big step for her and I appreciate her doing that for me.”

“My parents make much too much to be considered poor and need the help, but they don’t make enough where they can fork out the cash for me to go to college,” she said. “It’s this systematic cycle that if you want to reach for the upper class and get out of the middle, you have to get a college education. But then, you have to go into debt and there’s no way around it. There needs to be a way to break this cycle.”

While many are supportive of her mother’s initiative, Kendall Truex said there have been negative comments on social media.

“A lot of people have been saying, ‘You have a high GPA, you can [get] scholarships,'” she said. “They don’t just hand scholarships out. There are thousands upon thousands of kids competing for these scholarships. There’s just not that much financial aid out there. Believe me…I’ve tried.”

Lori Truex added, “I’m just a mom and you will do anything you can for your kids. There’s got to be somebody out there that has a solution for this problem. This upsets millions of families, not just mine.”

She said she will stand outside as many days as it takes, even in bad weather. She hopes her actions inspire other parents to start a college fund as early as they can.

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Mom turns to crowdfunding to pay daughter’s college tuition

Jun 16, 2017 32

Kendall Truex(BATTLE CREEK, Mich.) — A Michigan mom determined to send her daughter to college debt-free is turning to her community for help.

Lori Truex has been hitting the streets of Battle Creek, Michigan, while holding a sign that says, “Help Send a 4.0 Kid to College.”

The mom of three told ABC News that she started the campaign, “One Mom One Year,” out of “frustration” and “desperation” to pay for her daughter’s college education.

“Parents need to be talking about this,” Truex said. “It’s a dirty little secret they don’t want to admit to themselves, their coworkers and neighbors–some of us can’t afford to send our kids to college.”

She went on, “You either make too much for financial assistance or you don’t make enough to actually afford to pay for them. We’re truly the middle class. We’re stuck in the middle.”

Lori Truex’s daughter, Kendall Truex, 20, is transferring from Kellogg Community College to Michigan State University in the fall to study food science.

Lori Truex said her daughter received a Pell Grant of $1,770 and an MSU student aid grant for $3,600.

She is now left with a bill of $24,000 per year to attend the school.

On Wednesday, Lori Truex kicked off an official, 79-day fundraising campaign that’ll last until the end of summer. Then she’ll return to her full-time job as a bus driver.

Lori Truex will stand in various locations in her city while holding a sign asking strangers to contribute to her daughter’s college fund. In two days she has raised $200.

“I call it a social experiment,” Lori Truex said. “If you were being totally transparent and honest as to where this money was going would the community respond? It seems to be resonating with people.”

Kendall Truex told ABC News she was shocked when her mother told her about the plan to fund her tuition.

“It’s not in character for my mom,” Kendall Truex said. “For her being out there like this is a really big step for her and I appreciate her doing that for me.”

“My parents make much too much to be considered poor and need the help, but they don’t make enough where they can fork out the cash for me to go to college,” she said. “It’s this systematic cycle that if you want to reach for the upper class and get out of the middle, you have to get a college education. But then, you have to go into debt and there’s no way around it. There needs to be a way to break this cycle.”

While many are supportive of her mother’s initiative, Kendall Truex said there have been negative comments on social media.

“A lot of people have been saying, ‘You have a high GPA, you can [get] scholarships,'” she said. “They don’t just hand scholarships out. There are thousands upon thousands of kids competing for these scholarships. There’s just not that much financial aid out there. Believe me…I’ve tried.”

Lori Truex added, “I’m just a mom and you will do anything you can for your kids. There’s got to be somebody out there that has a solution for this problem. This upsets millions of families, not just mine.”

She said she will stand outside as many days as it takes, even in bad weather. She hopes her actions inspire other parents to start a college fund as early as they can.

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Bob Dylan's Harlem brownstone hits market for $3.6 million

Jun 16, 2017 35

TopTenRealEstate(NEW YORK) — The times are indeed a-changin’ because Bob Dylan is selling his Harlem brownstone.

The singer lived inside the four-story home, located in the New York City neighborhood’s famed Striver’s Row, for 14 years from the 1980s until 2000. The asking price is $3.6 million.

The 3,952-square-foot home includes 19th-century crown molding, wainscoting and high ceilings.

Along with an updated kitchen, which features stainless steel appliances and a wine refrigerator, the home also boasts five bedrooms, three bathrooms and a library.

And in case the New York City air chills you at night, you can cozy up beside six fireplaces with their original mantels.

The home also has a juliette balcony and an elevated outdoor deck.

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Amazon to acquire Whole Foods in $13.7 billion deal

Jun 16, 2017 33

Whole Foods Market(SEATTLE) — Online retail giant Amazon announced on Friday it has entered into a definitive agreement with Whole Foods Market to acquire the supermarket chain for approximately $13.7 billion.

Amazon says it will pay $42 per share in the all-cash deal, which includes Whole Foods’ net debt.

“This partnership presents an opportunity to maximize value for Whole Foods Market’s shareholders, while at the same time extending our mission and bringing the highest quality, experience, convenience and innovation to our customers,” Whole Foods Market co-founder and CEO John Mackey said in a statement.

Under the terms of the transaction, Whole Foods stores will keep the chain’s name, Mackey will stay on as CEO and Whole Foods’ heaquarters will remain in Austin, Texas.

The deal, which is expected to close later this year, is still subject to regulatory approval.

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Inside the E3 gaming expo in Los Angeles

Jun 16, 2017 30

ABC News(LOS ANGELES) — The Entertainment Software Association’s E3 gaming expo took place at the Los Angeles Convention Center this week.

Companies, analysts, media and gaming fans from more than 100 countries were expected to attend this year, according to the E3 website.

The expo focuses on the computer and video game industry, and companies attending include Nintendo, Sony and NVIDIA. Video game consoles, new software and other merchandise were revealed and on display at the convention center.

Watch ABC News at the expo this week in the videos below:

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Georgia teen builds custom backyard roller coaster over five years

Jun 15, 2017 35

Jackson Crosskno(CANTON, Ga.) — This innovative Georgia teen is definitely going to be the coolest kid in the neighborhood this summer.

Jackson Crosskno, 19, of Canton, built a custom roller coaster in his backyard over the course of five years.

“I’ve always been into roller coasters, and I used to go on YouTube all the time and I came across some people who had built some in their backyard. But they were all really small and didn’t have a theme to them, so I went and tried it,” Crosskno told ABC News of how the project began. “My dad helped me a little bit back in 2012. I got the main platform and the drop built, and I got kind of distracted for a few years and then I came back to it.”

His elaborate “White Mountain Railroad” even has a complex backstory, which Crosskno said he created to mimic the Walt Disney Imagineering process.

“The way Imagineering approaches things, everything is story-driven,” he said. “I’d like to get into that, so I wrote a whole backstory around a logging company that’s been turned into a tourist attraction. Everything about the ride was driven to that. The trains are actual steam engines, the front ends of them. It’s a whole story-driven experience. That’s how the best theme park attractions are built. It immerses you in the whole experience.”

Crosskno described the unique story behind his “White Mountain Railroad” on his YouTube video, which featured the completed ride in all its glory.

“The story of White Mountain Railroad begins in the late 1800s with the White Mountain Logging Co., which operated until the 1940s,” he said. “The rail lines had been built without blasting through the mountain to create tunnels, as it was cheaper for the money-hoarding management. Two tracks were created, one was the longer but slower route, and the other was a faster, more direct route to the bottom. As the years went by, the operation began to decline, and the mill closed sometime in the 1940s.

“The management decided to leave everything where it was since most of the equipment was too outdated to be sold and it was cheaper to leave the rotting railroad tracks than to remove them,” he said. “The operation sat abandoned for many years until a couple of urban explorers caught wind of the railroad and decided to have a look for themselves. What they found was a railroad that resembled the twists and drops of a roller coaster, and a light bulb went off. About a year later, the ‘White Mountain Switchback Railroad’ officially opened, allowing riders to ride along the slower and more scenic route of the railroad.”

The ride is a pride point for the Georgia State University sophomore, who said he had never taken an engineering class until he entered college.

“Not one engineering class,” Crosskno said. “There’s a little bit of math involved, like the width of the track ties, but most of it was trial and error. I approach things like, ‘Just go out there and do it.’ ”

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

After directors object, Sony changes plan to sell ‘clean’ versions of movies

Jun 15, 2017 35

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — Sony Pictures has relented — at least partially — on its plan to offer consumers “clean versions” of previously released movies.

Last week, Sony announced that it would make its cleaned-up broadcast TV or airline versions of 24 movies available to consumers who purchase films on various download and streaming sites. But that plan faced strong objections from some filmmakers and from the Directors Guild of America, reported Variety.

“Directors have the right to edit their feature films for every non-theatrical platform, plain and simple,” the Guild said, adding that releasing a cut made for one platform on another violates the Guild’s agreement with the studio.

Judd Apatow, producer of one movie on Sony’s list, Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby, had particularly not-clean words for the plan on Twitter, writing, “This is absolute bulls*** and @sony and @SonyPictures is gonna get hell for F****** with our movies. Shove the clean versions up your a****!”

On Wednesday, Sony announced a change in its plans, saying the studio won’t sell clean versions of the movies against directors’ wishes.

“Our directors are of paramount importance to us and we want to respect those relationships to the utmost,” Man Jit Singh, president of Sony Pictures Home Entertainment, said in a statement to Variety on Wednesday. “We believed we had obtained approvals from the filmmakers involved for use of their previously supervised television versions as a value added extra on sales of the full version. But if any of them are unhappy or have reconsidered, we will discontinue it for their films.”

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.