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Southington Business Owner Donates Generators to Families in Need During Power Outage – NBC Connecticut



While many are still waiting for their power to be restored, one Southington business is stepping up to help those still in the dark.

One Bristol family is giving thanks to a man who has made it his mission to donate generators to at least 17 families.

“We’ve been hoping every day that the power comes on,” said Kristin Ficaro, of Bristol.

She and Matthew Ficaro are two of the 715,000 customers who lost their power in the state following Tropical Storm Isaias.

“The little things that we get used to, you know, the wifi, the tv,” she said.

The couple along with their two kids, Enzo and Nico, were in the dark for three nights, experiencing hot temperatures inside their home.

“It was like in the 80s up there where we were sleeping so it was pretty warm and the kids both suffer from asthma, also, so it was pretty hard,” she said.

Matthew is a type one diabetic and has severe sleep apnea, too, so the need for their power to be restored was urgent.

“It’s been hard not having him have his machine at night. We’ve been worrying about him and stuff,” Kristin said. “It’s stressful juggling it all.”

Little did the family know that help would soon be on the way.

“We wanted to go out there and help people who were in need. There were a lot of people who called us crying,” said PowerSports LLC Owner Jamie Sewell.

Sewell is the owner of Southington Power Sports LLC. Typically he sells ATVS and other motor sport vehicles.

Occasionally, he sells generators, but when he got wind of the Ficaro family’s situation, he offered to help install a generator and a portable air conditioning unit free of charge.

“We love our community. We love helping people. We’re the type of business that doesn’t like to say no. If we can go above and beyond, we will,” Sewell said.

Sewell said he’s fortunate to be in a position to offer a helping hand to those who need it.

“It’s not about the money. It’s about helping people out,” Sewell added.

And the Ficaros say they appreciate Sewell’s generosity.

“I can’t tell you, words just can’t, I’m just that overwhelmed, speechless,” Matthew added.

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CaixaBank and Bankia merge paving the way for Spain to create biggest domestic bank worth more than $786 billion




FILE PHOTO: An Estelada (Catalan separatist flag) is seen on a balcony near a Caixa bank branch in Barcelona, Spain October 6, 2017. REUTERS/Yves Herman/File Photo
FILE PHOTO: An Estelada (Catalan separatist flag) is seen on a balcony near a Caixa bank branch in Barcelona

  • CaixaBank and Bankia received approval from their boards to merge, creating a bank worth more than $786 billion on Friday. 
  • CaixaBank will exchange 0.6845 of its shares for one Bankia share.
  • The new bank will operate under CaixaBank’s brand and will have more 20 million customers.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

CaixaBank and Spanish-state owned Bankia said on Friday they had got the greenlight from their boards to merge, creating the country’s largest domestic bank.

The deal will create a bank with assets of more than $786 billion. CaixaBank will exchange 0.6845 of its shares for one share in Bankia.

The operation is expected to close in the first quarter of 2021, as the merger still needs to be approved by both banks’ shareholders, as well as various regulatory and competition authorities. 

 “The combined entity’s total assets will exceed 664 billion euros, a volume that will make it the largest bank in the domestic market, with an important position at a European level and a market capitalization of over 16 billion euros,” the banks said in a joint statement.

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The new bank that will operate under the CaixaBank brand increases the group’s retail banking exposure and will have more than 20 million customers.

“With this operation, we will become the leading Spanish bank at a time when it is more necessary than ever to create entities with a significant size, thus contributing to supporting the needs of families and companies, and to reinforcing the strength of the financial system,” Bankia chairman José Ignacio Goirigolzarri said.

Goirigolzarri will become executive chairman of the combined bank, while CaixaBank CEO Gonzalo Gortázar will become CEO of the newly created entity. 

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“The merger will allow us to face the challenges of the next 10 years with greater scale, financial strength and profitability, resulting in greater value for our shareholders, more opportunities for our employees, better service to our clients and a greater capacity to support Spain’s economic recovery,” Gortázar said.

Banks across Europe are grappling with low interest-rate environment and the impact of COVID-19. 

Bankia is often compared with Lehman Brothers, the US investment bank whose collapse in late 2008 unleashed the financial crisis. Bankia was Spain’s biggest mortgage lender until the euro zone debt crisis in 2012 pulverized the country’s banking sector, triggering a a 22.4 billion euros ($26.6 billion) state bailout.

As of 05:30 am. ET, CaixaBank’s shares were up 0.6% at 2.06 euros ($2.5) and Bankia’s shares were down 2.2% at 1.4 euros ($1.7). 

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Dubuque business helps feed those struggling due to COVID-19 pandemic




DUBUQUE, Iowa (KCRG) – Aside from being a restaurant, staff at Convivium Urban Farmstead in Dubuque try to grow their own produce and offer cooking classes.

Logically, those classes were affected because of COVID-19.

“We had 3,000 pounds of produce that we did not know what to do with or did not have an outlet for, and we thought, ‘Why don’t we try and figure out a way to use this and give back to the community, especially during this, during COVID,” Leslie Shalabi, co-founder of Convivium, said.

And that is how the Free Take N’ Bake Casserole program was born. Every Thursday for, at least, twelve weeks, staff and volunteers will be giving out free casseroles aimed to help those who are struggling financially because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

For Natalie Roling, Convivium education and program director, the experience has been rewarding.

“People are stretched thin, maybe working double shifts,” she mentioned. “It is just helpful to not have to think about maybe this one meal.”

“We are not solving the entire problem, but we are helping in the ways that we can,” Shalabi said. “For me this is just one concrete way that I am putting my energy to try to help.”

Zandra Schonhoff was first in line Thursday to grab her free casserole. She had already stopped by last week.

“This is first on the list,” she said. “When I wake up, this is right where I am going first thing.”

For her, it is crucial to secure healthy meals. That is something she said she has struggled with during the pandemic.

“It is really hard to make sure you are eating right and with this program, I mean, I have cancer so it is absolutely perfect to make sure I am getting a good meal,” she mentioned.

Copyright 2020 KCRG. All rights reserved.

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Minneapolis Police 3rd Precinct Head To Business Owner: ‘Reinforcements Aren’t Coming Any Time Soon’ – WCCO




MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — There’s no long-term plan, and reinforcements aren’t coming anytime soon.

That’s what the head of the Minneapolis Police Department’s 3rd Precinct said in an email to a business owner who shared that his employees are scared to go to work.

READ MORE: Temporary Minneapolis Police 3rd Precinct Plan Dropped After Negotiations With Property Owners Reach Impasse

The neighborhood block of shops near East 48th Street and Chicago Avenue has felt the impact of recent crime. Craig Paulson owns Pedego Electric Bikes.

“Couple robberies. Two, three robberies in the area, and some break-ins and a couple of crazy stunts,” Paulson said.

Surveillance video shows a group accused of robbing Chad Stamps’ wife inside her gift shop, 14 Hill, during the lunch hour earlier this month.

“So they stole our car, stole our wallet, checkbook, everything,” Stamps said.

Stamps says one of the suspects punched someone trying to help her.

There’s a window broken at Town Hall Tap. Someone opened fire inside the Pizza Hut. The employee who was there has now quit. And a car flying down the street crashed into a bus stop and business.

Russell Hrubesky lives and works nearby.

“I’m scared for my coworkers, but it’s worrisome to see people that I care about just kind of in a dangerous area,” Hrubesky said.

A nearby business relayed a similar message to the inspector of the 3rd Precinct via email. They also sharing it’s hard to find employees who want to work in the area, and they are asking for a long-term plan.

Here is the response they received from Inspector Sean McGinty:

As far as a long-term plan I don’t have one. I have lost 30% of my street officers since the end of May. Budget cuts from COVID-19 and an additional 1.5 million from the council in August we have let go 17 CSO’s and cancelled a recruit class of 29. A potential Cadet class slated for January of 2021 was also eliminated. I takes about a year to get a police Officer onto the streets with hiring, backgrounds and field training so reinforcements aren’t coming anytime soon. We are doing everything we can with what we have. I hate to see great businesses like yours and the rest of your corridor being victimized and feeling unsafe. Please let me know if you have any more questions.

“It does erode the confidence in the neighborhood of the people and being able to feel safe coming down here,” Stamps said.

The Stamps store was hit a year ago, too. They say they’re not going anywhere, but lawlessness can’t continue.

“Nothing changed before and nothing’s changed now, except that these criminals have gotten more emboldened about doing this,” Stamps said.

Pedego Electric Bikes recently added a lock and doorbell.

“To say it doesn’t make you a little bit nervous, of course it does. And nobody wants a gun drawn on them. It’s always in the back of your mind,” Paulson said.

Lt. Bob Kroll, president of the Minneapolis Police Officers Federation, gave WCCO this statement:

The Inspector gave an excellent summary. I think the only plan city leadership has is to further decimate its police department. Businesses and people will continue to flee the city. And rightfully so.

Minneapolis City Councilmember Jeremy Schroeder, whose ward covers part of the third precinct, said this:

The Minneapolis Police Department currently has a budget of more than $180,000,000. Chief Arradondo reassured the City Council and the public this week that MPD is fully staffed in terms of patrols. The inspector’s stated lack of a plan is frustrating given the severity of safety concerns and the fact that MPD today has one of the largest budgets of any City department.

Council Vice President Andrea Jenkins gave WCCO this statement:

I am deeply disturbed by the increase in violent break-in and robberies specifically in this area near 48th and Chicago, and throughout the city. Small business is the lifeblood of this community and we cannot afford to allow them to continue to suffer these losses. Inspector McGinty and his staff have made some arrests in these incidents, and will continue to do their jobs with the resources that have on hand, but we know that preventing crime has to be a part of our Continuum of Public Safety as well. That means more investments in job training and opportunities, access to safe and affordable housing and other measures to steer young people towards positive pursuits.

The message from the community: City leaders need to sort out what’s going on.

“Kick it into gear, man. You got to figure it out,” Hrubesky said.

The inspector’s email came just a day after the chief assured city council members there were enough patrol officers to respond.

Minneapolis Police told WCCO, “In these very challenging times of COVID, budget cuts and retirements, the MPD continues to evaluate and reallocate the resources that we currently have to best serve the City of Minneapolis, focusing on the core responsibilities of a police department; responding to 911 calls and investigations.”

Police also said the inspector was referencing the George Floyd memorial at East Street and Chicago Avenue when he said he didn’t have a plan. The business owner says that site wasn’t mentioned in their exchange.

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