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    Putting in fake grass could be better for the environment and for your wallet; The CFPB has created a co-branded card with H&R Block. The CFPB is siding with businesses now instead of consumers; It’s really hard to find cheap contact lenses. Clark tells you where to shop. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Watch the video This article was originally published on Clark.com The post 7.23.19 Could fake grass save you money?; The CFPB sides with business over consumers; Cheap contact lenses appeared first on Clark Howard.
  • CBS chose the middle of the summer for Norah O'Donnell to debut as 'CBS Evening News' anchor, so probably should not be surprised that not too many people noticed. The Nielsen company said that 5.24 million people watched her newscast each day on average last week. That's essentially unchanged from the week before, when Jim Axelrod was the substitute host and CBS was also a distant third in the ratings behind ABC's 'World News Tonight' and NBC's 'Nightly News.' Statistics being statistics, there are different ways you could look at O'Donnell's performance. CBS says the numbers are trending up ever-so-slightly from the previous month. Yet compared to the same week a year ago, CBS was down 5 percent in viewers and even more sharply among viewers aged 25-to-54, the age group upon which most advertising sales for news programming are based. Year-to-year, NBC is also down 5 percent and ABC is up 1 percent. CBS News President Susan Zirinsky said the focus is on delivering journalism that impacts viewers, and pointed to interviews last week with top military commanders in the Middle East and O'Donnell's reporting from the Texas-Mexico border. She also anchored from Houston on the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 launch. 'Judging numbers after only one week is meaningless,' Zirinsky said. No matter how you look at the numbers, O'Donnell has her work cut out for her. ABC's 'World News Tonight' averaged 7.9 million viewers last week and the 'NBC Nightly News' had 6.9 million viewers. Behind the dominant 'America's Got Talent,' NBC won the week in prime time, averaging 3.4 million viewers. ABC had 3.2 million, CBS had 2.9 million, Fox had 1.8 million, ION Television had 1.5 million, Telemundo had 1.2 million, Univision had 1.1 million and the CW had 670,000. Fox News Channel was the week's most popular cable network, averaging 2.48 million viewers in prime time. MSNBC had 1.61 million, HGTV had 1.26 million, Hallmark had 1.19 million and TBS had 1.13 million. NBC's 'Nightly News' topped the evening newscasts with an average of 8.2 million viewers. ABC's 'World News' was second with 7.5 million and the 'CBS Evening News' had 6.4 million viewers. For the week of July 15-21, the top 10 shows, their networks and viewerships: 'America's Got Talent,' NBC, 9.54 million; '60 Minutes,' CBS, 6.58 million; 'The Bachelorette,' ABC, 6.48 million; 'Celebrity Family Feud,' ABC, 5.52 million; 'Bring the Funny,' NBC, 4.72 million; 'The $100,000 Pyramid,' ABC, 4.64 million; 'American Ninja Warrior,' NBC, 4.54 million; 'Big Brother' (Sunday), CBS, 4.27 million; 'America's Funniest Home Videos,' ABC, 4.16 million; 'Tucker Carlson Tonight' (Wednesday), Fox News, 4.03 million. ___ ABC is owned by The Walt Disney Co. CBS is owned by CBS Corp. CW is a joint venture of Warner Bros. Entertainment and CBS Corp. Fox is owned by 21st Century Fox. NBC and Telemundo are owned by Comcast Corp. ION Television is owned by ION Media Networks. ___ Online: http://www.nielsen.com
  • Payment processor Visa Inc. said Tuesday that its fiscal third quarter profits rose by an adjusted 11% from a year earlier, as more consumers spent more on Visa credit and debit cards. The San Francisco-based company reported a profit of $3.10 billion, up from $2.33 billion last year. The company had a one-time $600 million charge last year related to legal expenses. On a per share basis, Visa earned $1.37 a share, which is more than the $1.33 a share that analysts had been expecting, according to FactSet. Consumers and businesses spent $2.230 trillion on Visa's network last quarter, up 8.7% from the same quarter in 2018. Visa earns a small fee from every transaction that runs on its network, and most of its profit growth comes from whether more consumers and businesses are using Visa credit and debit cards for transactions instead of cash, or its competitors, American Express and Mastercard. Visa has been on an acquisition streak lately, buying four companies in the last three months. It bought cross-border payments company Earthport in May. In June, Visa bought an anti-fraud company Verifi and technology assets from Rambus. Last week it bought payment systems company Payworks. Total revenue for Visa was $5.84 billion, up from $5.24 billion a year earlier. Its stock slipped $1.10 to $179.80 in extended trading following the release of the earnings report.
  • The Latest on U.S. regulation of technology companies (all times local): 6:15 p.m. A longtime digital advertising executive and antitrust expert says American consumers and news publishers need competitive tech markets. Dina Srinivasan spoke Tuesday after the Department of Justice announced a broad antitrust investigation into big tech companies. She says increased competition could help solve wide-ranging privacy concerns in tech. But Blair Levin, a former leading Federal Communications Commission staffer, says it's not clear that antitrust regulations would solve all, or even any, of the other concerns. Tech companies are facing scrutiny that ranges widely from privacy concerns to protection of children to political interference. Levin says regulators need to carefully line up which institutions can address which issues — and antitrust likely won't take care of all of them. ___ 6:05 p.m. One Wall Street analyst believes the Justice Department's announced review of technology companies will lead to business model tweaks and fines rather than broader structural changes such as breaking up the companies. Dan Ives of Wedbush Securities says any resulting probe would likely take many years, and that the government would ultimately fail to break up the companies without changes to antitrust laws. He says that's unlikely. The Justice Department says it is opening an investigation into whether big online companies have hurt competition or innovation. The Justice Department didn't name any companies, but the targets are most likely Apple, Amazon, Google and Facebook. All four were the subject of congressional hearings last week. Shares of Facebook, Amazon and Apple are down slightly in after-hours trading, while Google's stock is unchanged. All four had closed up for the day. ___ 5:55 p.m. A Harvard professor who worked in the Obama administration says one challenge with the Justice Department's announced probe of big tech companies is to avoid politicizing it. Jason Furman, who was chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers under President Barack Obama, says the antitrust scrutiny on the companies is long overdue. He just hopes it's 'fast and effective enough that it can actually improve the functioning of the market.' As for whether any outcome could be expected before next year's presidential elections, Furman says these cases take a long time to investigate, let alone litigate. The probe announced Tuesday will include an examination into whether powerful companies such as Apple, Facebook, Google and Amazon have been stifling innovation and competition. ___ 5:45 p.m. An antitrust expert believes a Justice Department investigation into whether major technology companies are abusing their market power may prompt regulators to interpret the law in new ways. The probe announced Tuesday will include an examination into whether powerful companies such as Apple, Facebook, Google and Amazon have been stifling innovation and competition. University of Pennsylvania law professor Herbert Hovenkamp says one possible way the companies have been doing that is by collectively buying hundreds of startups in recent years to devour their technology and prevent them from growing into formidable rivals. Traditionally, antitrust regulators have only sought to block acquisitions involving two big companies. But Hovenkamp says U.S. antitrust law is broad enough for regulators to consider the potential damage wrought by relatively small deals too. ___ 5:30 p.m. Major tech companies facing congressional antitrust scrutiny have no comment on the Justice Department's just announced probe. The department says it is opening sweeping antitrust investigation of Big Tech and whether the online platforms have hurt competition, suppressed innovation or otherwise harmed consumers. It did not name any specific companies in its announcement. Amazon had no comment. Facebook also did not have an immediate comment. Google directed requests for comments to the testimony its director of economic policy, Adam Cohen, made to the House Judiciary Committee last week. Cohen reiterated the company's benefits to consumers. Apple referred to comments from CEO Tim Cook, who told CBS last month he doesn't think 'anybody reasonable' would call Apple a monopoly. ___ 5:15 p.m. The U.S. Justice Department says it is opening a sweeping antitrust investigation of big technology companies and whether their online platforms have hurt competition, suppressed innovation or otherwise harmed consumers. It comes as a growing number of lawmakers have called for stricter regulation or even breaking up of the big tech companies, which have come under intense scrutiny following a series of scandals that compromised users' privacy. President Donald Trump also has relentlessly criticized the big tech companies by name in recent months. ___ 4:50 p.m. The Washington Post is reporting that the Federal Trade Commission will allege that Facebook misled users about its privacy practices as part of an expected settlement. The federal business watchdog will reportedly find that Facebook deceived users about how it handled phone numbers it asked for as part of a security feature and provided insufficient information about how to turn off a facial recognition tool for photos. Advertisers were reportedly able to target users who provided their phone number as part of a two-factor authentication security feature. The FTC didn't respond immediately to a request for comment. Facebook had no comment. The complaints will reportedly be detailed in a settlement on Wednesday. Facebook won't be required to admit guilt but will have to submit to federal oversight, the newspaper reported.
  • Members of a Native American tribe in Wisconsin filed a federal lawsuit Tuesday in hopes of forcing Enbridge Inc. to remove sections of a major pipeline that runs across their reservation, arguing it's becoming more likely the aging line will rupture and cause catastrophic environmental damage. Enbridge's 66-year-old Line 5 carries 23 million gallons of crude oil and propane daily from Canada to eastern Michigan. The line runs across 12 miles of the Bad River Band of Lake Superior Chippewa's swampy reservation in far northern Wisconsin. The 7,000-member tribe argues that Enbridge's easements for the line expired in 2013 but the Canadian company has continued to pump oil and gas through Line 5 across the reservation regardless. The tribe in 2017 decided not to renew the easements. Meanwhile, the threat of a rupture has been growing, the lawsuit contends. The Bad River has been eroding the earth around a portion of the pipeline and could soon carve a new channel across the pipeline's route, washing away the soil that covers and supports it. That will subject the line to stresses it wasn't designed to withstand, including swaying under its own weight and impacts from falling trees and other objects. The lawsuit goes on to allege corrosion and defects in the line's materials and installation become more apparent as pipelines age. 'Should it fail, then, Line 5 is positioned to discharge crude oil to the Sloughs and into Lake Superior, endangering the staggering profusion of flora and fauna that members of the Band and their forbears have protected and utilized since long before European contact,' the lawsuit says. Enbridge spokeswoman Juli Kellner said in a statement that the company had just received the lawsuit and needs time to review it. She added that Enbridge has been trying to negotiate easement renewals with the tribe but most of the company's reservation right of way is covered by either perpetual easements on private land or a 50-year agreement with the tribe that doesn't expire until 2043. Enbridge has been under scrutiny since 2010, when its Line 6B pipeline ruptured in southern Michigan, releasing 800,000 gallons of oil into the Kalamazoo River system. Michigan's Democratic attorney general, Dana Nessel, filed a lawsuit in June seeking to shut down twin portions of Line 5 that run beneath the Straits of Mackinac, narrow waterways that connect Lake Michigan and Lake Huron. Nessel argued that anchor strikes could rupture the line, resulting in a devastating spill. Enbridge responded to that lawsuit by insisting the dual pipes are in good condition and could operate indefinitely. Duffy said decommissioning the two portions of the line would disrupt the energy market, pointing out that the line meets 55% of Michigan's propane needs. The company said it is willing to install a tunnel beneath the lakebed to protect the pipeline and foot the $500 million bill. Nessel said the state can't wait five or 10 years for Enbridge to build the tunnel. ___ Follow Todd Richmond on Twitter at https://twitter.com/trichmond1
  • The U.S. Department of Justice opened a sweeping antitrust investigation of big technology companies and whether their online platforms have hurt competition, suppressed innovation or otherwise harmed consumers. It comes as a growing number of lawmakers have called for stricter regulation or even breaking up of the big tech companies, which have come under intense scrutiny following a series of scandals that compromised users' privacy. President Donald Trump also has relentlessly criticized the big tech companies by name in recent months. He frequently asserts, without evidence, that companies such as Facebook and Google are biased against him and conservative politicians. The Justice Department did not name specific companies in its announcement. The focus of the investigation closely mirrors a bipartisan probe of Big Tech undertaken by the House Judiciary subcommittee on antitrust. Its chairman, Rep. David Cicilline, a Rhode Island Democrat, has sharply criticized the conduct of Silicon Valley giants and said legislative or regulatory changes may be needed. He has called breaking up the companies a last resort. Major tech companies already facing that congressional scrutiny declined to comment on the Justice Department's probe. Amazon had no comment. Facebook also did not have an immediate comment. Google directed requests for comments to the testimony its director of economic policy, Adam Cohen, made to the House Judiciary Committee last week. Cohen reiterated the company's benefits to consumers. Apple referred to comments from CEO Tim Cook, who told CBS last month he doesn't think 'anybody reasonable' would call Apple a monopoly. Shares of Facebook, Amazon and Apple were down slightly in after-hours trading. One antitrust expert believes the DOJ investigation may prompt regulators to interpret U.S. competition law in new ways. University of Pennsylvania law professor Herbert Hovenkamp said the companies may have been their abusing market power by collectively buying hundreds of startups in recent years to devour their technology and prevent them from growing into formidable rivals. Traditionally, antitrust regulators have only sought to block acquisitions involving large companies in adjacent markets. But Hovenkamp says U.S. antitrust law is broad enough for regulators to consider the potential damage wrought by relatively small deals, too. Earlier, the Washington Post reported that the Federal Trade Commission will allege that Facebook misled users about its privacy practices as part of an expected settlement of its 2018 Cambridge Analytica scandal. The federal business watchdog will reportedly find that Facebook deceived users about how it handled phone numbers it asked for as part of a security feature and provided insufficient information about how to turn off a facial recognition tool for photos. Advertisers were reportedly able to target users who provided their phone number as part of a two-factor authentication security feature. The FTC didn't respond immediately to a request for comment. Facebook had no comment.
  • U.S. regulators warned a leading marijuana company for making unproven health claims about CBD, the trendy ingredient that's turning up in lotions, foods and pet treats. The Food and Drug Administration announced Tuesday it warned Curaleaf Inc., of Wakefield, Massachusetts, for illegally selling unapproved products. Curaleaf's claims could lead people to delay medical care for serious conditions like cancer, the agency said. 'Consumers should beware of purchasing or using any such products,' said Acting FDA Commissioner Ned Sharpless in a statement. The FDA has issued similar warning letters to smaller businesses, but this is the first since the agency began studying how it regulates CBD. The agency plans to report in the fall on its regulatory approach after holding a public hearing and receiving nearly 4,500 comments. The agency is exploring 'potential regulatory pathways' for some CBD products to be lawfully marketed, Sharpless said. Curaleaf, which operates in 12 states, said it will work with the FDA to resolve the issues mentioned in the warning letter . The company's shares fell more than 7% on the news, and some other cannabis stocks lost ground. The company 'is fully committed to complying with FDA requirements for all of the products that it markets,' Curaleaf said in a statement. CBD is a compound found in marijuana that doesn't cause a high. Its skyrocketing popularity has attracted mainstream retailers despite little evidence of its health claims. Curaleaf's website and social media accounts show the company is illegally selling unapproved new drugs, the FDA said, specifically its CBD lotion, a pain-relief patch, several tinctures and disposable vape pens. The company's Bido CBD for Pets products are unapproved new animal drugs, the FDA said. The FDA cited claims the company made for CBD's effectiveness in treating chronic pain, anxiety, attention deficit disorder, Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease, cancer and opioid withdrawal. Curaleaf said all its CBD products come from hemp, a version of the cannabis plant that is low in THC, the part of cannabis that gives pot its high. Hemp gained new status as an agricultural crop late last year when President Donald Trump signed the farm bill. The CBD industry hoped the legislation would allow broad sales of the ingredient. But the FDA still regulates pharmaceutical products. Since CBD is the active ingredient of GW Pharmaceuticals' Epidiolex, approved by the FDA last year, the agency has said it can't be added to food or marketed to treat health conditions without going through the FDA's established processes. ___ Follow AP Medical Writer Carla K. Johnson on Twitter: @CarlaKJohnson ___ The Associated Press Health and Science Department receives support from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute's Department of Science Education. The AP is solely responsible for all content.
  • United Parcel Service Inc. is responding to the growth in online shopping and pressures for speedy delivery by seeking to expand its drone deliveries and adding thousands of new spots where customers can pick up packages. The Atlanta-based package delivery giant said Tuesday it is adding 12,000 new package pickup locations inside CVS, The Michaels Co. and Advance Auto Parts stores. The new locations will bring to 21,000 the number of pickup points UPS has in the U.S. and to 40,000 globally. The company also announced that starting Jan. 1 it will offer pickup and delivery services seven days a week, adding service on Sundays. It said it is setting up a subsidiary that will focus on expanding its drone-delivery operations, limited now to delivering medical samples at a group of hospitals in Raleigh, North Carolina. It filed for certification from the Federal Aviation Administration for the subsidiary, called UPS Flight Forward, to fly drones beyond line of sight, at night, and with an unlimited number of drones and operators in command. Still, Google is ahead of UPS on the drone front. In April, Google announced that its affiliate Wing Aviation received federal approval allowing it to make commercial deliveries by drone. It marked the first time a company has gotten a federal air carrier certification for drone deliveries. The approval from the FAA means that Wing can operate commercial drone flights in part of Virginia, which it plans to begin later this year.
  • Opening up another legal front against the Democrats investigating him, President Donald Trump on Tuesday sued the House Ways and Means Committee and New York state officials to prevent his state tax returns from being turned over to the congressional committee. The lawsuit seeks an injunction to block the application of a new New York state law that could allow the Democratic-controlled House and Ways Means Committee to obtain the returns. The lawsuit, filed in Washington, comes amid a furious White House attempt to prevent the president's tax returns to wind up in Democratic hands. 'We have filed a lawsuit today in our ongoing efforts to end presidential harassment,' said Jay Sekulow, one of the president's lawyers. 'The targeting of the president by the House Ways and Means Committee, the New York Attorney General, and a New York tax official violates article 1 of the U.S. Constitution. The harassment tactics lack a legitimate legislative purpose. The actions taken by the House and New York officials are nothing more than political retribution.' The state's attorney general, Letitia James, said the act 'will shine a light on the president's finances and finally offer transparency to millions of Americans yearning to know the truth.' 'President Trump has spent his career hiding behind lawsuits,' James said in a statement, 'but, as New York's chief law enforcement officer, I can assure him that no one is above the law — not even the president of the United States.' Trump's tax returns have been a source of mystery — and contention — ever since the celebrity businessman broke with tradition and did not release his returns during his 2016 presidential campaign. The House Ways and Means Committee sued the Treasury Department and IRS officials this month in an attempt to enforce a law that allows its chairman to obtain any taxpayer's returns. Its chairman, Rep. Richard Neal, D-Mass., hasn't indicated whether he would use the New York law, focusing instead on the federal lawsuit. The lawsuit echoes what has become the White House consistent argument: that the committee's pursuit of the president's tax returns, as well as most of the Democrats' investigative efforts, lack a legitimate legislative purpose and thus is outside Congress's authority. The suit also argues that the committee can't have a legislative purpose in getting state records because its jurisdiction is limited to federal taxes. However, New York officials have argued that the state returns would contain much of the same information found on the president's federal returns. Trump has cited repeated IRS audits as a reason not to disclose his returns, but he isn't legally prevented from releasing returns while under audit. 'Ultimately, this issue was litigated in the 2016 election,' the lawsuit said. 'Voters heard the criticisms from Secretary (Hillary) Clinton, and they elected President Trump anyway. Democrats in Congress and across the country, however, have only become more eager to disclose the president's tax returns for political gain.' Democrats have argued that they need to review the returns in their search for potential conflicts of interest or corruption. The administration and the Trump's business have repeatedly tried to stall Democrats' investigations by filing lawsuits and not cooperating. The White House has blocked several current and former officials from testifying, has refused to comply with document requests and the president has considered invoking executive privilege to stifle a series of probes. ___ Follow Lemire on Twitter at http://twitter.com/@JonLemire
  • Venezuela's opposition on Tuesday sought to harness anger over a massive blackout that deepened hardship nationwide, but turnout at a Caracas demonstration was relatively modest as many Venezuelans despair of an imminent solution to their plight. Lights came back on in parts of the capital and other areas of Venezuela overnight following a nearly nine-hour outage that the government blamed on an 'electromagnetic attack' against the power grid, without providing any evidence. Government opponents say years of mismanagement and corruption were to blame. Electricity supply remained unstable in many regions. The blackout knocked out communications and the Caracas metro on Monday, forcing commuters to walk home or hustle for a spot on packed buses. The metro remained out of operation Tuesday. The scenes in the capital were familiar, even though Caracas has been mostly spared the debilitating power cuts that persisted in other parts of the country after nationwide outages in March. The latest blackout didn't make much difference to people with scarce power in Maracaibo, Venezuela's second-largest city. Maritza Arámbula, a Maracaibo resident, said she was tired of a government that makes 'excuses' and an opposition continually seeking support from Venezuela's exhausted citizens. 'We need solutions, not promises,' Arámbula said. 'Not having light makes me sick.' In Caracas, the opposition-led congress held a session in a main square to try to keep pressure on the government of President Nicolás Maduro, who has defied U.S.-led efforts to oust him. Opposition leader Juan Guaidó appeared in front of bunting in the colors of the Venezuelan flag — red, blue and yellow — and said, as he often has in the past, that the government he calls a 'dictatorship' is crumbling. 'We have to win,' he said. At the gathering, the congress approved Venezuela's return to the Inter-American Treaty of Reciprocal Assistance, a U.S.-led defense pact that could provide political cover for greater international involvement in the nation's crisis. However, Maduro's government was not expected to heed the opposition move. In addition to congress deputies, hundreds of other people attended the event, a smaller crowd than the throngs that poured into the streets in January when Guaidó declared he was interim president and that Maduro's 2018 re-election was a sham. Some activists said the turnout was low because public transport wasn't available, though opposition demonstrations in Caracas have diminished in size over several months. In January, expectations of change were high among many Venezuelans. But Maduro dug in, maintaining the support of Russia, Cuba and Venezuelan military leaders who ignored an opposition attempt to stoke a military rebellion on April 30. Now negotiations mediated by Norway are underway, worrying opposition activists who fear the government is playing for time. Guaidó tweeted about the nationwide blackout, blaming it on the incompetence of a government that claims to espouse the socialist principles of Maduro's late predecessor, Hugo Chávez. 'For Venezuelans, it's not an option to get used to this tragedy,' he said. The Venezuelan government blamed sabotage, echoing allegations that the United States was behind nearly a week of blackouts in March that were allegedly aimed at forcing out Maduro. U.S. officials have scoffed at the suggestion. It's unclear what Venezuela's government meant by its claim of an electromagnetic attack. There are weapons that can deliver an electromagnetic pulse that could fry circuitry in a power plant, similar to the way a lightning strike could damage computer equipment. But it's highly unlikely that those with the capability of using such sophisticated weapons would do so, some experts said, adding that a cyberattack would be more likely. But the operating system of the Guri Dam, the anchor of Venezuela's power grid, is on a closed network with no internet connection, other experts said. Several speculated that a likely cause of blackouts in March was a fire along one of the electrical grid's powerful 765-kilovolt lines that connect the dam to much of Venezuela. Venezuelan officials suspended school and work Tuesday for most Venezuelans because of the power failure, though Energy Minister Freddy Brito said government workers were restoring power across the country. Netblocks, a group monitoring internet activity, said network data showed most of Venezuela had been knocked offline with national connectivity at just 6% after the outages on Monday. Venezuela was once a wealthy oil nation, but an estimated 4 million residents have emigrated, tired of shortages of electricity and water, as well as food and medicine. U.S. sanctions have added to an economic crisis that has escalated for years, according to experts. Still, the widespread frustration over yet another national blackout doesn't necessarily spell a breaking point for Maduro, said Eric Farnsworth, vice president of the Washington-based Council of the Americas and Americas Society think tank. 'It furthers the narrative that Maduro can't provide for his people, that basic services are a luxury that can't be taken for granted,' Farnsworth said. 'Is it enough to end the regime? I would say, no, it's not enough at this point.' Meanwhile, the Lima Group, which includes Canada and some Latin American countries, held a meeting in Buenos Aires, Argentina, to rally international support for Guaidó and condemnation of human rights violations under the Venezuelan government. Maduro backers say the Venezuelan opposition has fomented violence. 'The crisis is getting worse and requires an urgent solution through a transition with credible, transparent, free and fair elections, with the help of the international community,' said Néstor Popolizio, the Peruvian foreign minister. While Venezuela's future is unclear for many, an opposition activist wearing a Venezuelan flag around her shoulders like a cape said one thing is certain: The blackout in Caracas this week won't be the last. 'What we went through last night will happen again,' said Adriana Caluogno, a computer programmer. ___ Associated Press journalists Sheyla Urdaneta in Maracaibo, Venezuela; Débora Rey in Buenos Aires, Argentina; and Cathy Bussewitz in New York contributed.

Local News

  • There are reports of a homicide on Athens’ east side: the victim is said to be a pregnant woman, 24 years old, killed in Carriage Court off Barnett Shoals Road. Athens-Clarke County Police say the shooting happened around 9:30 Monday night. The victim is identified this morning as Auriel Callaway. She died after being taken to an Athens hospital. Callaway was four months pregnant with a fetus that did not survive. A 2 year-old who was in the home at the time of the shooting is being taken care of by other family members. There are reports that the boy’s mother was the shooting victim and that she was holding his hand at the time of the homicide. There is no word yet on suspects or motive.  Police say they are questioning possible witnesses and other persons of interest.    Athens-Clarke County Police say someone apparently stole upwards of $20,000 from a pizza restaurant on Hull Road, theft of cash from the restaurant that has taken place over the past year. Police investigators say they are looking at restaurant employees as suspects.    Franklin County Sheriff’s deputies say they have found and arrested the man who ran away from a car on I-85, leaving the scene of a traffic stop and leaving a child inside the car. Franklin County Sheriff Stevie Thomas says the child is safe, turned over first to DFACS and then to a grandmother in Atlanta. The suspect was spotted and arrested Monday afternoon, walking along the Interstate in Banks County.  An 8 year-old boy from Hartwell is in the burn unit of a hospital in Greenville South Carolina: the boy was injured in an explosion at a home in Gillsville. Banks County EMS says the boy suffered burns on his face and arms when someone tossed a plastic bottle filled with flammable liquids into a burn pile.    The GBI is releasing more details about an officer-involved shooting in Dalton. A police officer was called to an intersection where a man was jumping on cars and running in and out of traffic. The suspect attacked the officer, who uses a taser on 32 year-old David Schmitt. Schmitt took the taser away and tried to use it on the officer. That’s when Schmitt was shot. He went to the hospital in Dalton with what are said to be non-life-threatening wounds. The officer suffered minor injuries. 
  • — Four former Georgia Bulldogs – Kenny Gaines, Albert Jackson, Travis Leslie and Charles Mann – will participate in the 2019 edition of “The Basketball Tournament,” which tips off on Friday. Known more commonly as simply the “TBT,” a 64-team bracket is competing for $2-million in winner-take-all prize money.   Interestingly, three of those Bulldogs will face off in one of the opening games of the tournament’s Lexington Regional. On Friday at 3:00 p.m. ET, Leslie and the “Ft. Wayne Champs” will face “Showtime,” the team for which Jackson and Mann are playing. That contest is set to be streamed on ESPN3.   Leslie was an All-SEC performer for the Bulldogs in 2011 and scored 1,099 points in three seasons with the Bulldogs before declaring for the NBA Draft. He was drafted by the L.A. Clippers in the second round of the 2011 Draft and has played primarily in France during his professional career. Last season, Leslie averaged 12.9 points, 5.9 rebounds, 2.2 assists and 1.1 steals per game for Boulazac.   Jackson was a four-year letter winner from 2006-10 who moved into the Bulldogs’ starting five late during the 2008 campaign. Jackson had a pair of double-digit outings in Georgia’s improbable run to the 2008 SEC Tournament title when the Dogs won four games in four days – including two in one day – to secure an NCAA Tournament bid.   Mann was a SEC All-Freshman selection in 2013 and an All-SEC performer in 2014. He started 106 games for the Bulldogs, including 98 of 100 games during his sophomore, junior and senior seasons. He has since played professionally in Europe, Canada and the G-League. Mann ranks No. 15 among Georgia’s career scoring leaders with 1,411 points. Much of those came at the free throw line, where he is the Bulldogs’ all-time leader in attempts (896) and makes (618). In fact, he ranks second to only Pete Maravich in SEC history in trips to the free throw line.   Gaines will play for “Jimmy V,” competing in the Syracuse Regional beginning next Friday. They will face “Brotherly Love” on July 26 at 1:00 p.m. The “Jimmy V” team is competing in an effort to raise proceeds for The V Foundation for Cancer Research.   Gaines also was named All-SEC in 2014, and he ranks No. 21 on the Bulldogs’ career scoring leaders ledger with 1,324 points. Among Georgia’s career statistical leaders, Gaines also ranks No. 4 in 3-pointers (213), No. 5 in 3-point attempts (569) and No. 7 in 3-point percentage (.374). Since graduating from UGA, Gaines has played professionally in France and Lithuania. He recently signed to play in Italy during the 2019-20 season.   'We are honored to work with the V Foundation in this year’s TBT,” said Alex Neumann, the team’s general manager. “To be able to play for such an incredible organization that does the kind of work for cancer research that they do is a special opportunity for us. We’ve seen teams participate in TBT in past years for great causes, and it’s an inspiration to see the way people can rally around them. We’re hoping to garner that kind of support playing for Jimmy V this year. We are excited about the roster that we have constructed and can’t wait to start turning some heads in July and for years to come.'   About The Basketball Tournament TBT is a 64-team, single elimination summer tournament airing on ESPN where the winning team takes home $2 million. TBT’s 2019 format divides a 64-team field into eight regions for Rounds 1-3, with each region seeded 1-8. The last team standing will claim a winner-take-all prize of $2 million and the champion of each regional will receive a cash prize equal to 25% of the ticket sales of that particular region. 
  • The Athens-Clarke County Water Conservation Office says there is a new tool to help local residents better manage their water use. City Hall says the Water Smart Portal is an online resource that allows water customers to set up leak notifications and monitor water bills.    From the ACC Government website… Water customers now have access to a free, online tool to manage their water use. Athens-Clarke County (ACC) Public Utilities Department is introducing the WaterSmart AMI Portal, an online tool that allows residents to set up leak notifications and monitor their water bill.The WaterSmart system has the potential to save residents money and protect the local water supply through leak detection. By creating a WaterSmart account, customers can receive leak alerts and other notifications by text, voice, and email. Customers also have the ability to track their water use in near real-time, allowing residents to find and resolve leaks more quickly with careful monitoring.Other WaterSmart features include water-efficiency tips, water use and bill forecasting, and comparisons of home water usage to similar ACC households. To take advantage of these online tools, ACC Public Utilities Department (PUD) water customers can enroll for WaterSmart by visiting www.accgov.com/WaterSmart.The recent PUD upgrades to the water meters throughout the county provide the means to offer this service to customers. Using the same positive displacement meters the PUD has relied on for years to measure water use, the new Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI) changed the way meters are read. Instead of manually reading meters on a monthly basis, the AMI System now remotely sends water usage data daily. The consumption history is then made available to customers in easy to read graphs with WaterSmart technology.The PUD values customer feedback. A frequent request from customers is for the ability to pay water bills online with the use of a credit card. The PUD is currently evaluating options to offer this feature on the WaterSmart platform in the near future. Sign up for a WaterSmart AMI Portal account to receive notification of when this feature is available.For questions about how to register for your free WaterSmart account or to schedule a presentation, please contact Laurie Loftin at 706-613-3729 or visit www.accgov.com/WaterSmart.
  • Falcons safety J.J. Wilcox, who signed with the team in the offseason, went down with a right knee injury about an hour into the first practice of training camp on Monday. “I don’t have an injury updates from today,” Falcons coach Dan Quinn said after practice. “I’ll follow up with anything tomorrow. Nothing from the training staff today that I can share.” Before Quinn could follow up, it was reported by NFL Media that Wilcox is out for the season with a torn ACL.  However, a source familiar with the injury, would not confirm the torn ACL, but said that Wilcox will get a second option on the injury this week.  Also, reserve defensive tackle Michael Bennett suffered a broken ankle, according to NFL Media.  Wilcox, 28, who played at Georgia Southern and Cairo High, was working his way to the ball as a runner was getting down the field when he went to the ground. Wilcox was escorted to the sideline by defensive backs Damontae Kazee and Keanu Neal. He couldn’t put any pressure on the leg and was immediately attended to by the two members of the training staff.
  • The University of North Georgia campus in Dahlonega is hosting today’s Georgia Chamber of Commerce Rural Prosperity Forum. It’s underway at 8 o’clock this morning in the University’s Convocation Center.From the Ga Chamber of Commerce… The Georgia Chamber of Commerce will be hosting the first-ever Rural Prosperity North Georgia Forum on July 23 from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the University of North Georgia Convocation Center.  Following the widely successful annual Rural Prosperity Summit in Tifton, the newly introduced North Georgia Forum focuses on the unique aspects of rural communities in North Georgia and seeks to bring solutions that cultivates prosperity for these portions of our state. For the first time in the North Georgia community, guests will have the opportunity to hear from speakers about the local challenges and solutions that are often faced. There will be networking opportunities for attendees, local business owners, and industry leaders to make meaningful connections and build relationships that could strengthen their business.    The honorable Senator Steve Gooch and Representative Rick Jasperse will discuss the legislative outlook on rural revitalization. There will also be a North Georgia regional speaker, Chuck Reece, who is the Editor of The Bitter Southerner. Additional speakers include representatives from the Office of Attorney General of Georgia, Georgia Department of Community Affairs, Georgia EMC, Paladin Wireless, Hart County IBA and many more.    “The Georgia Chamber works diligently with our statewide partners to address the challenges that face rural Georgia. The Rural Prosperity North Georgia Forum is an opportunity for attendees to hear from industry leaders, government officials, business owners, and key community partners about new concepts to help our rural communities grow,” said Chris Clark, President and CEO of the Georgia Chamber. “We are invested in finding real solutions for Georgia and believe that this Forum is an important part of that process.”

Bulldog News

  • ATHENS, Ga. The SEC Media Days voters have spoken, making their (Alabama) picks, and scattering brad crumbs around the rest of the league. To be the best, you have to beat the best, they say, and so previously little attention or credit is doled out to other schools when it comes to preseason All-SEC selections. RELATED: Six biggest Georgia snubs on preseason All-SEC team The Crimson Tide's dominance on the first team (11 to Georgia's 4) has been well-documented, with much of this year's voting based on last season's results. The Bulldogs, however, have several players with All-SEC ability who have yet to put up the stats or turn enough heads outside of Athens to have been noticed. Here are 12 All-SEC candidates from Georgia who did not make the first, second or third- All-SEC preseason teams, a couple of them having already been nominated on the 'biggest snubs' list: James Cook Out of the backfield, in the slot or as a return man, Cook possesses the game-breaking speed and cutback ability to score from anywhere on he field. Demetris Robertston One year bigger, stronger and tougher after his transfer from Cal, look for D-Rob to take the top off defenses and make plays whether outside or in the slot at receiver. Eric Stokes A sticky cover cornerback who produced when called upon, Stokes is also adequate in run support. Tyson Campbell Toasted early but seasoned late, there's a reason Kirby Smart started Campbell on the corner as a true freshman. Malik Herring NFL frame, good quickness and strength and a desire to live up to his head coach's expectations bode well for Herring on the D-Line. Tae Crowder Converted running back will be reacting more than thinking from inside linebacker this season, already on NFL scouts radar Trey Hill Sophomore takes to the center position naturally, teammates refer to his legs as 'tree trunks' Brian Herrien Hungry and durable, 1,000-yard season could be in reach depending on D'Andre Swift and Zamir White workloads. Tyler Simmons Simmons is all about speed and toughness, a committed team player who competed most of last season wearing a shoulder brace at receiver. Jordan Davis The first of the three players that follow in this article off the 'snubs' list, Davis was an FWAA Freshman All-American defensive tackle who dominated at times. Monty Rice Perhaps the biggest snub of all, Smart has earmarked Rice for greatness, and certainly, a captain role in the linebacker corps. Lawrence Cager The Miami transfer receiver is a 6-foot-5 former high school high jump champion with a 40-inch vertical, and while speed is a question, catch radius is not. DawgNation from SEC Media Days Kirby Smart says no emotion figures into Jacksonville talks Vanderbilt coach Derek Mason: Kirby Smart is 'like a brother' South Carolina weighs in on Georgia-Clemson toughness debate Alabama players agree, Georgia toughest team' they faced The unbelievable story of how Herschel Walker chose Georgia Kirby Smart puts breaks on recruiting trail SEC Network analyst: I love Georgia this year' Outland Trophy favorite Andrew Thomas locked into junior year Florida says playing UGA in Jacksonville a home game' Gators believe they're closer to Georgia than scores indicate Georgia football offensive line, by position Podcast: 3 overlooked Georgia football topics from media days The post 12 Georgia football players with All-SEC potential not on preseason lists appeared first on DawgNation.
  • CBS officially announced that Georgia and Notre Dame will be played under the lights in primetime at 8 p.m. ET on Sept. 21. Brad Nessler, Gary Danielson and Jamie Erdahl will be on the call for CBS. This will be the first time Georgia has hosted Notre Dame and only the third time these two historic programs have ever faced each other. The Bulldogs are 2-0 in the series against the Fighting Irish with a 17-10 victory in the 1981 Sugar Bowl and a 20-19 victory at Notre Dame Stadium in 2017.
  • HOOVER, Ala. There were many questions posed to Jake Fromm during one single whirlwind day at SEC Media Days last month. He took at least three hours of questions. Give or take a photo opp or a sunglass pose or two. Alabama? Yes. Mock draft white noise? Yep. Fish or hunt? Yes. Duck hunt or play football? Yessir. DawgNation wanted to know the answer to a specific question: How does he rate his performance after games? When he turns on the film, what is he looking for? Fromm, the quarterback known for having the clear head at all times due to immense preparation, shared a little insight into his work behind the scenes with that one. 'It kind of starts [number] one with decisions,' Jake Fromm said. 'Do we make the right decisions? The right checks? Pre-snap? Before the play? Do we make the right decision after? Did I try to force a ball? Did I check it down too soon? Are my eyes in the wrong spots? So a lot of different things, you know.' 'Really just kind of seeing what kind of throws did we make. The kind of errors. Did we make really bad errors? Did we make small ones and really did we move the ball on third down? There are a lot of different things we are looking at. Really trying to critique decisions. Then we will kind of go into physically like Hey is my foot off a little bit? Is my shoulder off? Am I not getting my elbow up when I throw?' so a lot of different little things.' 'You kind of watch it once or twice. Sometimes three times and see what you see and you see something different every single time.' Grading Jake Fromm: What does he see as his best games? Media can point to a stat line. The metric followers can pour over his QB rating and its intricate formulas. There can be a highlight-worthy throw that goes viral everywhere. The trifecta: ESPN. SEC Network. Social media. But that's how Joe Media or Joe Fan gauges a good game for the Georgia QB. Which games did Fromm feel he was at his best? The junior All-American candidate said he was closest to his standard (a likely unattainable one) at the end of the 2018 season. 'Gosh, I think the last two,' Fromm said. 'The Georgia Tech game and the Alabama game last year. Kind of finished the season and kind of thought I was playing at a high level. Thought I was making really good decisions moving the ball. Those are the two that kind of jump out to me right at the moment.' 'Just moving the ball. Making good decisions and making the big-time throws when they were needed.' Here is how Fromm fared in those games: Fromm versus Georgia Tech: 13-for-16, 175 yards, 4 TDs, O INTs Fromm versus Alabama: 25-for-39, 301 yards, 3 TDs, O INTs The first game he played in 2018 was pretty strong, too. Fromm versus Oklahoma: 20-for-29, 210 yards, 2 TDs, O INTs The junior from Warner Robins actually finished his 2018 season on a surge which saw him throw for 17 touchdowns against two interceptions. That was coming off a poor performance for the entire team, including Fromm, at LSU. This year he is the clear starter and a team leader. There is no other 5-star peer on the depth chart to compete with for starting reps under center. This is his team. Fromm's name will be in the lineup every day in the same vein that a Freddie Freeman or a Mike Trout knows that one off night won't cost him a start. Fromm will still put in the exact same work in the film room regardless. Does he see that helping him to get better and play better in 2019? 'That kind of allows me to get back to [my] high school days and have a little more fun in practice,' Fromm said. 'Really go out and try different things. For me, in high school, there's a lot of kind of trial and error in what I did. It didn't always make [my] coach happy, but it really kind of helped me play. Do you know? Hey, this is what I can and this is what I can't do.' 'I'm going to have a little more fun at practice and go out and try to make some more plays and see what happens.' The post Fromm talk: How does Jake Fromm grade himself after a game? appeared first on DawgNation.
  • HOOVER, Ala. Jake Fromm and Jake Bentley go way back and have stayed friends throughout their careers at Georgia and South Carolina. So much so that Bentley said the quarterbacks might even meet up in Greenville, S.C., and go on a double date. ' I told some guys earlier, he dates a volleyball player, so do I,' Bentley said, 'so we were going to go double date up in Greenville at some point and time before the season starts, so that would be pretty cool.' WATCH: Carolina QB Jake Bentley compares Georgia to Clemson Bentley said he has been impressed working beside Fromm in the offseason. ' You watch Jake (Fromm), and he's just very consistent as far as how he plays, he doesn't miss many throws,' Bentley said. 'He's very detail oriented, just sitting with him in the meeting room, and how he goes about his business is very professional.' NFL scouts have noticed both Fromm and Bentley, both of whom could be in the 2020 NFL Draft class. The quarterbacks have both been trained at QB Country in Mobile, Ala., by David Morris. RELATED: Morris breaks down Jake Fromm Bentley, who led South Carolina to a bowl win over Michigan his freshman season, impressed at the Manning Camp. Jim Nagy, a former NFL scout with four Super Bowl rings who's now executive director of the Senior Bowl, heaped praise. ' Walked away from Manning Passing Academy last Friday night impressed with @GamecockFB QB Jake Bentleyand that was before he won 'Air It Out' competition,' Nagy said . 'Ball was coming out quicker and cleaner than past years.' Walked away from Manning Passing Academy last Friday night impressed with @GamecockFB QB Jake Bentleyand that was before he won 'Air It Out' competition. Ball was coming out quicker and cleaner than past years. Could mean a big year for @Edwards_Bryan4. #thedraftstartsinMobile pic.twitter.com/IFAO38Vs8t Jim Nagy (@JimNagy_SB) July 1, 2019 Kirby Smart also had positive things to say about Bentley, who the Bulldogs will play host to in Sanford Stadium on Oct. 12. 'He's a leader, he's a guy who has played,' Smart said of Bentley. 'Any time you're playing a guy with that kind of experience, it's very similar to Jake (Fromm), except he's got one whole year on top of that, and they've got some good wideouts coming back with them.' Smart, of course, loves his Jake, too. 'This guy (Fromm) is the epitome of what college football is all about,' Smart said. 'Number one, he stands up for the right things, he's very strong in his faith, he lives it. 'I have a lot of respect for his ability to be who he is, be confident in who he is and still lead our team and not create any jealousy while he's doing it.' Jake Bentley Comparing the Jakes DawgNation from SEC Media Days Vanderbilt coach Derek Mason: Kirby Smart is 'like a brother' South Carolina weighs in on Georgia-Clemson toughness debate Alabama players agree, Georgia toughest team' they faced The unbelievable story of how Herschel Walker chose Georgia Kirby Smart puts breaks on recruiting trail SEC Network analyst: I love Georgia this year' Outland Trophy favorite Andrew Thomas locked into junior year Florida says playing UGA in Jacksonville a home game' Gators believe they're closer to Georgia than scores indicate Georgia football offensive line, by position Podcast: 3 overlooked Georgia football topics from media days The post WATCH: South Carolina QB Jake Bentley suggests double date with Jake Fromm appeared first on DawgNation.
  • Aaron Schunk was one of the most consistent hitters at Georgia throughout his three years with the Bulldogs. During his time wearing the red and black, Schunk had a career .312 batting average with 19 home runs and 114 runs-batted-in.  Schunk has not skipped a beat with the Boise Hawks throughout his first 32 games. During those 32 games, Schunk is slashing .311/.380/.500 with an .880 OPS. He has recorded three home runs, 12 RBI, 12 bases-on-balls and only 16 strikeouts in the Northwest League.  On July 20, Schunk recorded his first “perfect game” with the Hawks going 4-for-4 with a walk, one RBI and three runs scored.