Entrada anterior: New Brunswick Motorway Cameras The chef and restaurateur allegedly fostered a toxic workplace culture, employees say Parents weigh decisions for their kids as school reopening deadlines approach. One thing is clear: They’re not listening to skirmishing politicians. Online food prices have climbed 4.2% over the past six months according to the latest Adobe Inc. data as grocery e-commerce accelerated amid the COVID-19… Apps, learning programs, and video games nowadays enable real-time chats with complete strangers — a risk parents need to teach their children to avoid. Skip to contentSkip to site index
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Win Son Co-Founder Trigg Brown Steps Away Following Allegations of Hostile Work Environment
Trigg Brown — the chef and co-owner of one of NYC’s most buzzed about restaurants, Win Son — is temporarily stepping away from day-to-day operations after employees leveled allegations that he fostered a hostile workplace.
In an email sent out to staff on July 7, co-owner Josh Ku told employees that Brown would be stepping away from Win Son for an unspecified amount of time following a series of allegations that were made public on Instagram. Brown later confirmed to Eater in an email that he was distancing himself from the restaurant.
“Josh and I have acknowledged that, like many others, we do have work to do, and are formally looking into these current claims,” Brown said in a statement. “That said, I have stepped away from the kitchen to reflect, to focus on how best to move our business forward and to spend more time with my wife and newborn daughter.”
The action comes after Rafael Joson, a veteran Win Son employee who worked as a bartender at the restaurant for three years, started posting employee allegations about Brown’s reportedly volatile behavior onto his Instagram account earlier this month.
Monique, a former staffer who identified herself as the only woman in the kitchen’s upper ranks during her employment, claimed via Joson’s posts that Brown ran a kitchen rife with verbal abuse and intimidation — including allegedly throwing a cleaver, food items, and, in one instance, a bell that narrowly missed a server’s head. Joson posted messages from other anonymous employees confirming Monique’s experiences and speaking more generally to the toxic work environment that they felt Brown cultivated at Win Son.
In a separate email on July 7, Brown listed out steps that he and Ku would be taking to make changes at the organization following the employee allegations. Brown and Ku committed to developing a separate HR department for the restaurant and going through management and sensitivity training that they would then pass on to the rest of the management team. Brown also said that he would be seeking help for anger management and both he and Ku would start therapy “so that personal growth is working in tangent to professional growth,” Brown said in the email.
Brown and Ku also set up a questionnaire last week to gather optional anonymous employee feedback on the ways in which Win Son’s workplace — and Brown and Ku’s leadership — can improve.
Win Son has had a nuclear rise in NYC’s dining scene since it opened in 2017. Bon Appetit has heaped accolades on the restaurant, the New York Times loved it, and Eater has covered it extensively as one of the city’s most exciting restaurants. Brown and Ku were highlighted on Eater New York’s 2020 list of the new guard of restaurateurs defining NYC’s next generation of dining, and heralded as “huge players” in the city’s rise of modern Taiwanese food.
After the steps towards reconciliation were announced, Joson posted a response on Instagram, saying that he and others are still looking for a more explicit confirmation and apology from Brown — especially acknowledging his actions toward Alden.
“While we think these are positive steps for Win Son’s growth as a business, Trigg still personally refuses to explicitly acknowledge his abuse, continuing to cite a failure to ‘listen,’” Joson said on Instagram. “Unless he, in his own words, openly validates the anecdote shared by a woman brave enough to put her neck out in a highly political and unforgiving industry — if Trigg continues to deny her experience — it will be our responsibility to continue offering context that eliminates doubt.”
Additional reporting by Tanay Warerkar
Author: Erika Adams
Online school? In-person? How parents are making their own fall 2020 decisions as COVID-19 squabbles continue
As officials play political football with K-12 school reopenings, parents such as Johanne Davis are formulating their own game plans for the fall.
“To exercise an abundance of caution, I’d like to keep my kids home with me where they’ll study online,” says Davis, a mother of three from Indian Land, South Carolina, one of countless states where COVID-19 cases have spiked in recent weeks.
“Health is the issue, not just for my children, but also school workers,” Davis says. “Teachers shouldn’t have to be front-line soldiers in this pandemic.”
Families across the nation are busy making their own calculations about whether to send children back to school. While Davis seems resolved, many parents are still mulling.
Most are taking a measured and hyper-local approach to what is ultimately a very personal decision, consulting with friends, neighbors and local educators. That’s despite the issue becoming increasingly political, with President Donald Trump and state officials weighing in last week, sometimes in conflict with published health guidance.
A week of chaos:Changing school reopening plans leave teachers, parents reeling
USA TODAY checked in with more than a dozen households. No matter their geographic or financial backgrounds, parents are often conflicted and confused. Some are keen to stay safe and opt for online classes, while others are willing to try partial in-person learning while keeping an eye on rising case numbers. And many are willing to change their plans if the situation demands it.
“This whole issue is nuanced,” says Jenna Schwartz of Los Angeles, a mother of two, former teacher and leader of an area organization called Parents Supporting Teachers.
“My non-medical opinion is it is not safe to return to school,” says Schwartz, citing mixed messaging on how susceptible children are to the virus and how easily they can transmit it to adults. “Is kids’ health more important than returning to school? Of course it is. But what if the inability to return to school forces a parent to lose their job and their insurance? That’s a different kind of health crisis.”
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The confusion extends to the highest levels of government. Instead of a unified response, guidance seems to change almost daily.
This past week, President Donald Trump, a fierce advocate for a full fall reopening, appeared to go to war with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, whose guidelines he deemed too strict. The CDC ultimately did not significantly revise its stance.
The American Academy of Pediatrics had also been calling for the full resumption of in-person classes, but last week its president, Dr. Sally Goza, clarified that states with surging cases of COVID-19, the pulmonary disease caused by coronavirus, should modify their plans based on those case numbers.
On Friday, the organization issued a new statement. “Returning to school is important for the healthy development and well-being of children, but we must pursue re-opening in a way that is safe for all students, teachers and staff. Science should drive decision-making on safely reopening schools.”
Meanwhile, Education Secretary Betsy DeVos criticized school districts contemplating non-full-time measures, but her own department released a report saying students attending in-person classes just a few days a week could keep everyone safer.
“There are no ideal solutions here,” says Kao-Ping Chua, assistant professor of pediatrics at the University of Michigan’s Susan B. Meister Child Health Evaluation and Research Center. The child health center released a survey indicating a third of parents in Illinois, Michigan and Ohio may not send kids to school in the fall.
“No matter what schools do, they won’t make everyone happy,” he says. “And unfortunately, beyond conflicting information that’s getting politicized, states are seeing surging cases, which is not an environment you want to open schools in.”
Parents doing their fall calculus should weigh their risk appetite and consult family doctors, says Dr. Nathaniel Beers, a pediatrician at Children’s National Hospital in Washington, D.C. Beers helped produce the American Academy of Pediatrics’ guidelines for reopening, which encourage administrators to be flexible and respond to shifting case numbers and community needs.
“We’ve heard from people who say kids should be out, and others say they want them at home, but it’s all about: ‘What’s the right decision for me and my family?’” he says. “And don’t feel badly if you make a decision today, and you later change your mind.”
Easier said than done, says Khem Irby of Greensboro, North Carolina, a local school board member and president of Parents Across America, a national advocacy organization. She says many parents depend on a consistent school schedule in order to head off to work.
“Many of the parents I’ve been speaking with are very clear: They’re not sending their kids back to school unless school districts can come up with a plan they can trust and it’s consistent,” says Irby. “Unfortunately, many schools out there might not have the money to truly accommodate social distancing and cleaning guidelines.”
Across the country, plans for welcoming students vary. Some districts are offering parents choices, typically between learning online full time and coming back a few days a week. In other cases, school superintendents are at odds with state officials, as is the case in Lancaster County, South Carolina, where Davis lives.
State legislators are pushing for an early return for in-person classes, but school officials are concerned that mandate is being imposed at a time when COVID-19 cases are rising in the state. Official plans for the fall are expected later this week.
Davis knows her brood, ages 10, 11 and 13, is fortunate. She and her husband work from home – she as a communications consultant and he in IT security – and there are plenty of laptops as well as fast Internet service. “I know many won’t have this luxury,” she says.
The fact that online learning won’t work for everyone in the community has added tension to the ongoing debates about the fall.
“It’s sad the district is putting politics over people,” says Alissa Bray, also of Indian Land, South Carolina. “It’s sad when neighbors are more worried about themselves and what works for them than each other. We’ve got a ‘me culture.'”
Bray’s own three school-age boys are mostly looking forward to getting back to school in the fall. She will send them if classes resume, even on a partial basis, but won’t hesitate to pull them back if needed.
“We’ve prepared our boys and had conversations about how this all might change back again,” and they might be learning at home all the time, she says. “Their eyes are on us. So we practice wearing masks at home. We’re eating raw honey to boost immunity. We’ll try and roll with it and keep reevaluating.”
In Loudoun County, Virginia, two households are taking different approaches to the fall. So far, word is residents will have a choice between full distance learning and a hybrid model where students will attend in-person classes two days a week.
The Jackomis family of Leesburg, with their two children, 14 and 9, are eager for school doors to open, even if partially.
“My preference is to send them back full time,” says mom Stephanie, who works from home in software while her husband is a dentist. She feels the routine of school and learning from professional instructors in person is crucial for child development. “I respect teachers. I don’t have the personality necessary to teach my child.”
Teachers now have everyone’s respect:It only took a coronavirus pandemic and worldwide economic collapse
Jackomis says her fear of COVID-19 is tempered; her brother suffered with it for three weeks and has recovered. “OK, the virus can be scary, but to me the mental health issues resulting from not being in school can be scary,” she says. “We can find a vaccine for the virus, but there’s no vaccine for depression.”
Melissa Taliaferro, also of Leesburg, thinks full-time distance learning may be the better choice for her five children, who range from fourth to 11th grade.
“My feeling is that approach will give the kids more access to instruction and an educator when compared to the hybrid model,” says Taliaferro, who runs a cloud computing consulting business from home while her husband does the same as an accountant. “But it’s a complicated thing, and I guess in the end neither option is likely to meet the needs of a vast majority of children.”
Ultimately, Taliaferro and her peers are preparing for an at-home learning experience given the current rate of viral spread.
“Lots of parents we know think we’ll eventually be distanced no matter what fall option you pick, because at the first sign of a case they’ll send everyone home,” she says. “When we look back on this phase of life, we’ll see this was the true definition of trauma.”
In Chattanooga, Tennessee, Jaime Kerns is concerned about the health implications of schools reopening. The Spanish teacher at Lookout Valley Middle and High School has asthma, while her daughter Emaline, 15, has asthma and an immunodeficiency. Her husband, who is a real estate agent, also has health issues.
“Our district has done a good job organizing things, giving us all options that range from a purely virtual school to phased-in learning at the school,” Kerns says.
“But it does lead to some confusing questions for me,” she adds. “If I’m in school teaching, potentially at risk, should my daughter bother to stay at home? And while we’ll have distancing and masks, you wonder about enforcement. I want to go back into that building, but should I?”
Kerns says her county, Hamilton, has a large Latino population, a demographic that has been particularly hard hit by COVID-19 nationally. She is concerned with how more vulnerable populations will deal with a school year “that may not provide their kids with the food, learning and stability that they come to depend on.”
Miguel Martinez of Petal, Mississippi, has four children ages 6 to 19. “My oldest daughter, she wants to go back. She’ll be a senior, so it means a lot,” he says. “And my wife and I both work, so we are depending on the schools.”
But there is concern in his voice. Martinez is a warehouse manager at a plywood mill and his wife, Melissa, is a nurse at a facility for the mentally challenged. She has been treating COVID-19 patients. Miguel has asthma and is concerned at the high rates of infection among Latinos and Black Americans.
“I don’t think the schools really have the funding to disinfect the place every day, or to socially distance in a way that is meaningful,” he says. “That all leaves me concerned about getting the virus.”
Alicia Baltazar has even graver worries. The Los Angeles-area single mother of 10-year-old Jeremy is on permanent disability as a result of a variety of health issues.
“I don’t see any way I would survive a COVID-19 infection,” says Baltazar, whose 12-year-old cousin died of COVID-19 complications and whose grandfather currently is battling the virus. “I can’t send my kid to school and risk he’ll kill me.”
Baltazar lives off a $515 monthly welfare check, lives in Section 8 housing and receives food stamps to make ends meet. She says people in her neighborhood are torn between sending their children to school so they can work and shouldering those associated costs.
“The low-income moms I know can’t afford to send their kids to school every day with a fresh mask, because we can’t get to the laundromat every day,” she says. “But mostly it’s a health thing. The guidelines I’ve heard are a joke. Getting kids to stay away from large groups? Keeping bathrooms and playgrounds from crowding? It’s like the people writing them have never been to a school.”
Baltazar’s fellow Angeleno Lisa Welch is ready to have her son, Henry, who is heading into his sophomore year at El Segundo Unified, sit out next year if necessary. While so-called gap years are typically more the province of college students, Welch thinks this could be the time to take a pause from school.
“This all makes you stressed as a parent, because when it comes to kids being in school, I remember everything great that I got out of being there,” Welch says. “You can learn on a computer, but you’re not learning about the complex landscape of human interactions. And I’m not willing to risk Henry’s life for him to get that right now.”
Welch runs a product marketing company called Brand Therapy, whose clients include many video game companies. She says her son has spent many stay-at-home weeks playing games with friends “and learning a bit about social interactions that way, and it’s really been quite interesting and worthwhile.”
Welch, who is divorced, has a daughter who is successfully navigating online courses at a local college. For Henry, she can envision him taking online classes only all year. But if going to a school has to be part of the mix, she might pass.
“We’re waiting until the last minute to make the decision, depending on where we are with COVID-19 cases,” says Welch. “If he can go virtual, great. If not, it’ll make for a rich learning year in his life. He can pick up American History in a year, and in the meantime live through true American history.”
Follow USA TODAY national correspondent Marco della Cava: @marcodellacava
Online food prices jump as food companies struggle to meet demand
Online food prices have climbed 4.2% over the past six months according to the latest Adobe Inc. data as grocery e-commerce accelerated amid the COVID-19 pandemic and food producers struggled to keep up with continued high demand.
“We’ve always thought of the online marketplace as a ‘value marketplace’ for consumers, meaning consumers can get a bit more bang for their buck, and this is supposed to be a more favorable time of year for them in terms of prices,” said Vivek Pandya, digital insights manager at Adobe. “But they aren’t getting that relief.”
U.S. online grocery sales rose 9% month-over-month in June, reaching $7.2 billion, according to the Brick Meets Click/Mercatus Grocery Survey.
That survey found that the June sales increase corresponded with increased concern about contracting coronavirus and as more food retailers offered the option for grocery pickup after ordering online.
See:The meat industry will be completely gone in 15 years, Impossible Foods CEO says
“This increase in online grocery capacity has flipped the equation,” said David Bishop, partner and research lead at Brick Meets Click. “Today as shoppers have more choice, the increased capacity is now actually enabling the continued growth of online grocery.”
The number of coronavirus cases in the U.S. has reached 3.3 million with Florida counting a record of more than 15,000 new cases on Sunday. The U.S. of death toll is more than 135,000. Some state legislators and public health officials have called for stay-at-home orders as the number of cases surge.
Overall, Adobe found that e-commerce spending was $77 billion higher than expected while inflation has driven digital purchasing power (DPP) into negative territory for the first time ever, “which means consumers can now purchase goods online for $1.01 that would have cost $1.00 in June 2019,” Adobe said.
“Online grocery orders for delivery or curbside collection have grown significantly and we expect online penetration to grow structurally,” Fitch Ratings wrote in a report about global corporate recovery from coronavirus.
Read:Grocery prices are rising as eat-at-home demand soars during the pandemic
“Some weaker regional companies with limited investment capacity may be unable to support robust omnichannel models and will lose share to better-capitalized companies.”
Adobe notes that grocery cart size has fallen due to a decline in stockpiling and rising online grocery prices after skyrocketing 33% in mid-February .
Even if shoppers aren’t pantry-loading any longer, food manufacturers have discussed the struggle to keep up with demand.
For example, the company saw a 140% increase in demand for ready-to-eat soup, which had a significant impact on manufacturing. There’s also been an increase in cooking from scratch, with Clouse saying that risotto made with tomato soup is a “very, very high demand recipe.” And customers are trying new products, which is hopefully accompanied by a positive response.
“So the other work that we need to be doing right now is to really understand that optimal assortment and making sure that inventory remains kind of balanced with where demand’s going to come from, that we’re selective and thoughtful about what that assortment looks like, while making room for innovation that we still believe is going to be important,” Clouse said, according to a FactSet transcript.
See:We have plenty of food, so why are grocery store shelves so empty?
Also:Meat shortage looms as coronavirus shuts packing plants leaving farmers with tough choices
Conagra, on its June 30 call, highlighted the “robust demand” for frozen vegetables.
“Given the incredible surge in demand we experienced during the fourth quarter and our number one brand position, we hit a ceiling on capacity,” said Sean Connolly, chief executive of Conagra, according to a FactSet transcript.
Despite the challenges, shoppers don’t have to worry about a widespread lack of food.
“There is limited supply-chain risk in this sector, other than some shortages (such as beef) in key food categories,” Fitch Ratings said.
Author: Tonya Garcia
Guarding against internet predators a higher priority for parents amid COVID-19 | Opinion
Alongside endless societal ailments created by the COVID-19 pandemic, one less talked about is the fertile grounds it creates for adult predators to target children using the internet and online platforms. In March 2020 alone, the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children observed online child exploitation rates doubling compared with the previous year. Pennsylvania’s Internet Crimes Against Children task force also reported arrests in the Philadelphia and surrounding areas in recent months.
Despite being “virtual,” such victimization is very real and can result in severe lifelong harm to children. It involves adults initiating inappropriate interactions and relationships with minors, with sexual motives. Sexually explicit images or videos are often exchanged, and then can be shared publicly with others. Threats, manipulation, and emotional abuse often ensue. Such contacts sometimes escalate into physical encounters that put the child in danger.
Our best, and possibly only, strategy to combat this threat is to raise awareness among parents and educate children.
The social distancing and isolation measures taken to fend from the pandemic have created an unprecedented reality. For adults and children alike, online communications have become the only lifeline to the outside world. Even in previously screen-free households, online platforms had to be introduced to fulfill basic educational, social, and entertainment needs for children of all ages. The necessity of juggling child care with full-time work-from-home, plus the end of the school year, inevitably increased unsupervised screen use.
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Meanwhile, children find themselves deprived of their most basic need for direct social interaction with peers and trusted adults. They experience extreme loneliness, boredom, and restlessness, craving human contact, attention, and validation. They are also seeking to escape their unnatural and unsettling reality. Online platforms provide a temporary fulfillment. Apps, learning programs, and video games nowadays provide for real-time chats and messaging functions that enable direct communication with complete strangers. They enable a dialogue as well as an exchange of images and videos. Many parents are not aware of these messaging functions or do not know how to block them. Despite privacy settings, no platform is ironclad.
On the other end of the screen, adult predators lurk — also sitting at home, lonely and bored. They are now free of the worry of coworkers seeing their screen and are less likely to be caught. They are expert con artists, who can pretend to be anybody they desire. They frequent the same apps and games as do children. They initiate casual contact, and may slowly gain a child’s trust by appealing to the exact same vulnerabilities experienced by children during isolation. The FBI, UNICEF, and Europol have issued warning alerts against this imminent threat.
And now, lockdown restrictions are slowly easing. With people feeling intense loneliness, boredom, and desire for adventure, there is a heightened probability that predators, who have gained children’s trust over time, will advance to physical in-person encounters.
Despite school closures, school districts must be proactive and send families a clear, informative reminder of internet safety rules.
But most importantly, parents should have honest conversations with their children. Remind them the virtual world is a wonderful place, but also deceptive. Whenever possible, provide adult supervision over screen use, and make sure the privacy settings in all used platforms and apps are at the highest level. Explain ground rules and warning signs. Make sure children always have a trusted adult, even if not yourself, to contact for help and guidance. Make sure they know to stop the interaction immediately and reach out to that adult if a stranger engages them in correspondence, sends a photo or a video, asks for a photo or a video of the child, asks them to keep their communication a secret, offers a gift, or — most importantly — if someone online suggests an in-person meeting. Remind them to trust their gut — if something makes them feel uncomfortable, concerned, or scared, that means they should shut it off immediately and report.
Online exploitation of children is real, and it can happen to anyone. It’s not a cliché: Action you take today could save your child.
Michal Gilad is a visiting fellow with the National Prevention Science Coalition to Improve Lives.
Author: Michal Gilad, For the Inquirer
As jobs move online, retraining workers becomes a priority.
Business|As jobs move online, retraining workers becomes a priority.
Economists, business leaders and labor experts have warned for years that a coming wave of automation and digital technology would upend the work force, destroying some jobs while altering how and where work is done for nearly everyone.
In the past four months, the coronavirus pandemic has transformed some of those predictions into reality. By May, half of Americans were working from home, tethered to their employers via laptops and Wi-Fi, up from 15 percent pre-pandemic, according to a recent study.
The rapid change is leading to mounting demands for training programs for millions of workers. On their own, some of the proposals are modest. But combined they could cost tens of billions of dollars, in what would be one of the most ambitious retraining efforts in generations.
A group of mainly corporate executives and educators advising the Trump administration on work force policy called for “immediate and unprecedented investments in American workers,” both for training and help in finding jobs. And even before the pandemic, former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. had proposed investing $50 billion in work force training.
In Congress, there is bipartisan support for giving jobless workers a $4,000 training credit.
“This is the moment when we should make a significant public investment,” said David Autor, a labor economist at M.I.T., “when we should have a Marshall Plan for ourselves.”
Author: Steve Lohr