Posts tagged with "Indiana"

‘Betty the Weathercat’ is a TV star in Indiana

April 30, 2020

When TV meteorologist Jeff Lyons of Channel 14 News in Evansville, Indiana, set up a green screen at home during the coronavirus lockdown in order to do his 10 p.m. live report, he didn’t know that, out of adversity, a star would be born, reports The Washington Post.

Three weeks into his new routine, things were going pretty smoothly when Betty—Lyons’ 11-year-old cat— showed up for her closeup: Shortly before Lyons’s three-minute weathercast on April 13, Betty sauntered out from beneath the dining room table for a little attention from her owner.

Is that your cat?” the news director asked Lyons. “You should put her on the air.”

Lyons wasn’t sure that was a great idea, he told the Post. “But I did it,” he said. “I held the cat up and on it went from there.”

He cradled his gray and white longhair feline in both arms and introduced her to his viewers. Betty lazily looked at the camera and twitched her tail. That’s all it took for the station’s viewers to fall in love.

The next morning, Lyons posted a screen shot to his Facebook page of him holding Betty in front of the weekly Evansville forecast. “I didn’t think much of it,” he told the news outlet, “but then I got a text from my nephew. He said, ‘My God, you’re trending on Reddit.’”

That was his first inkling that Betty was becoming a celebrity. But Lyons had no idea just how famous she would become. She is now so popular that she has her own Instagram page and is on the Channel 14 weather segment most nights with her own “Betty the Weathercat” graphic.

Lyons built a small “throne” for her next to his green screen, and he uses computer-animated graphics of Betty as a catalyst for his forecast. (An umbrella on her tail means that rain is on the way, while sunny skies usually get a paws-up.)

Viewers regularly leave comments for Betty, along with snapshots of their own cats.

“I think she will need a raise soon,” wrote one fan. “That 1 can of tuna is just not gonna cut it.”

“So long Jeff, it has been great watching you over these past years!” posted another. “Betty has taken over! She is a purrrfect meteorologist!”

Lyons, who has worked at Channel 14 for the past three decades, said he learned a long time ago to have fun while doing the weather. “When the weather is threatening, you have to be serious, but for the rest of the time, it’s important to be happy,” he said. “My sense is that people want a diversion right now during this horrible pandemic. They’re looking for something that’s kind of fun. So at least for now, doing the forecast with Betty fits right in.”

Research contact: @washingtonpost

Peapod to shut down grocery delivery in the Midwest and cut 500 jobs

February 13, 2020

Peapod, the grocery delivery pioneer developed by Stop & Shop in 1989, has announced plans to cease operations in the Midwest—a move that will mean the loss of 500 jobs, according to a report by The Chicago Tribune.

Customers of the online grocer who live in Illinois, Wisconsin, and Indiana won’t be able to place delivery orders through the Peapod website starting as soon as February 18, the parent company of both the online grocer and its bricks-and-mortar originator, Netherlands-based Ahold Delhaize, announced Tuesday.

About 50,000 people in the Midwest currently use Peapod, placing 10,500 orders weekly.

Chicago-based Peapod will close a distribution center and food preparation facility in Lake Zurich, a pick-up point in Palatine; and distribution facilities in Chicago, Milwaukee and Indianapolis — affecting 400 employees. Another 30 employees will be cut at corporate headquarters in the West Loop, and about 100 drivers will lose their jobs.

Chicago will remain the headquarters for Peapod Digital Labs, which runs the e-commerce technology for Ahold Delhaize’s U.S. grocery brands. Peapod Digital Labs employs about 450 people, half of them in Chicago, and plans to hire 100 more people this year.

Peapod is exiting the Midwest as grocery delivery heats up, the Tribune says. The value of the online grocery market more than doubled from $12 billion in 2016 to $26 billion in 2018, and some projections have it reaching $100 billion by 2025.

Peapod will continue to serve customers on the East Coast, where Ahold Delhaize—the Dutch parent of Food Lion, Stop and Shop, and Giant—is the region’s largest grocery retailer. The decision to cut service in the Midwest will allow the company to focus on a strategy that offers in-store, delivery, and pick-up options.

“Customers really want groceries to be available for them whichever way they choose to shop,” JJ Fleeman, Chief ECommerce Officer and president of Peapod Digital Labs, explained to the news outlet.

Peapod’s Midwest operation posed challenges because it was online only, so it didn’t have a network of stores to connect to the supply chain and it was more difficult to gain new customers who want to know the grocery brand where their fresh food is coming from, said Selma Postma, president of Peapod.

“This was a very difficult decision given our rich history in Chicago,” Postma told the Tribune. “We have a lot of loyal customers, we have a lot of loyal employees.”

Peapod’s Midwest operations accounted for about $97 million of Ahold Delhaize’s $1.1 billion in online revenue in the United States.

 Research contact: @chicagotribune

Poll: Buttigieg feels the love in Iowa

April 15, 2019

He had virtually no name recognition just a few months ago (and those few who knew his surname could not pronounce it), but Pete Buttigieg is now a rising star among the growing ranks of Democrats who have announced for the 2020 presidential race.

In fact, the only two Democrats who are doing better are the elder statesmen of the party, former Vice President Joe Biden and Senator Bernie Sanders (I-Vermont).

Biden leads the 2020 Democratic presidential field in Iowa, according to findings of a poll released April 11 that also suggests Pete Buttigieg—a small-city mayor from Indiana is gaining significant traction with likely caucus-goers, Politico reported.

The Monmouth University poll shows that Biden, who hasn’t officially entered the race, is the first choice of roughly one-quarter of likely caucus-goers, at 27%. He’s followed by Senator Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) with 16%; and Buttigieg, the mayor of South Bend, Indiana, with 9%.

That very unexpectedly places Buttigieg marginally ahead of a handful of candidates who entered the race with more established profiles: Sensators Kamala Harris (D-California) and Elizabeth Warren (D-Massachusetts) are at 7 %, former Representative has 4% of the vote; and Senator Cory Booker (D-New Jersey.) is bringing up the rear at 3%.

The last nonpartisan poll in Iowa—conducted a month ago for CNN, the Des Moines Register, and Mediacom, a local cable company — also had Biden atop the field with 27%. Sanders was closer, with 25% of the vote. But Buttigieg was an also-ran in that survey, with just 1%.

In the interim, however, Buttigieg has been headlining the news due to a fracas with Vice President Mike Pence, whom the candidate worked with as governor of Indiana before the 2016 elections.

Pence, who comes from the ranks of the religious right, is not a supporter of gay unions. Buttigieg, who is gay and married, recently said, “”If me being gay was a choice, it was a choice that was made far, far above my pay grade. And that’s the thing I wish the Mike Pences of the world would understand. That if you [have] got a problem with who I am, your problem is not with me — your quarrel, sir, is with my creator.”

Not only did voters seem to like that argument, but they like the fact that Buttigieg, the first Millennial to run for president (at age 37), has been a Rhodes Scholar at Oxford, a graduate of Harvard University, and a lieutenant in the Navy Reserve who served in Afghanistan,  in addition to the mayor of South Bend.

According to Politico, Buttigieg still lags most of the other major candidates in name recognition, the poll shows. Nearly a quarter of caucus-goers (24%) say they haven’t heard of the mayor of the nation’s 301st-largest city; compared to 3%percent who haven’t heard of Warren, 7% who haven’t heard of O’Rourke, 10%  percent for Harris and 11 % for Booker. (Biden and Sanders have universal name-ID among Democrats.)

But Buttigieg has his fans: 45 percent of caucusgoers view him favorably, while 9 percent have an unfavorable opinion of him. The remaining 22 percent say they have heard of Buttigieg but don’t have an opinion of the 37-year-old candidate.

The Monmouth poll was conducted April 4-9, among 351 likely Democratic caucus-goers.

Research contact: @politico