It’s A Small (Business) World After All
July 5, 2022
Some Good News
- More than a million pack London’s streets for Pride parade (Reuters)
- Bear cub rescued after getting head stuck in plastic jug (AP)
“Most of the important things in the world have been accomplished by people who have kept on trying when there seemed to be no hope at all.” – Dale Carnegie
It’s A Small World After All
When Eddie Cochran wrote “There Ain’t No Cure for the Summertime Blues” in 1958, he was bemoaning having to work all the time “just to try to earn a dollar” so he could “use the car to go ridin’ next Sunday.” However, the “Eisenhower Recession” was technically over – the inflation rate was just 2.85%, a gallon of gasoline cost 30 cents, and consumer confidence had bounced way up. Fast forward to the summer of 2022 – inflation is 8.58%, gas averages nearly $5 a gallon, interest rates are taking off, and consumer confidence is crumbling.
U.S. small businesses are feeling the pain. 33% of them couldn’t pay their May rent in full and on time, and 52% said rent has increased over the past six months. Landlords were lenient during the pandemic’s first two years; now many are asking for back rent, and some are raising the current rent. Meanwhile, most government aid programs that helped small businesses get through the pandemic have ended, while inflation has sharply pushed up the cost of supplies, shipping, and labor. Chuck Casto is head of corporate communications at Alignable, a small business referral network. “Many small businesses are still frankly recovering from whatever the last phase of COVID was …[plus] dealing with a years’ worth of increasing inflation,” Castro says. “It’s made it difficult for small businesses to really make a go of it.”
Ris Lacoste owns a namesake restaurant, Ris, in Washington, D.C., and is having trouble staying afloat. To cut corners, she’s refinishing tables to hold down on linen costs, not printing color copies of menus, and working with 22 staffers instead of the 50 she once had. In 2019, her 7,000-square-foot restaurant was often full, but now it isn’t “back to full occupancy at all,” Ris said. And inflation is compounding the cost of doing business. “Payroll is up, labor is up, the cost of goods is up, utilities are going up. I’m wearing 20 hats instead of 10, and working six days a week, 12 hours a day.” Lacoste can’t control the rent, and that adds to the stress. “You’re working for the landlord, how long do you want to do that, how long will you survive?” she said. “It’s not sustainable.” (genius.com, recession.tips,wquad.com, CBS News)
Flooding Down Under
- Officials in Australia’s largest city said Tuesday that severe flooding had engulfed hundreds of homes and impacted 50,000 people in southern Sydney. Days of torrential rain caused dams to overflow and waterways to break their banks, bringing a fourth flood emergency in 16 months to parts of the city of 5 million people.
- Emergency response teams made 100 rescues overnight of people trapped in cars on flooded roads or in inundated homes. The New South Wales state government declared a disaster across 23 local government areas overnight, activating federal government financial assistance for flood victims.
- The wild weather and mountainous seas along the New South Wales coast thwarted plans to tow a stricken cargo ship with 21 crew members to safety in the open sea. The ship lost power Monday morning after leaving port in Wollongong, south of Sydney, and risked being grounded by 26-foot swells and 34 mph winds. An attempt to tow the ship with tugboats into open ocean ended when a towline snapped in a 36-foot swell late Monday. (ABC News)
Deadly Avalanche In Italy
- An avalanche set off by the collapse of an Italian glacier Sunday during a heat wave killed at least seven climbers and injured eight others; at least 14 people remained missing. The glacier in the Marmolada range is the largest in the Dolomite mountains in northeastern Italy.
- People ski there during winter, but the glacier has been rapidly melting away in recent years. Marmolada’s collapse caused ice and rock to thunder down the slope at 185 miles per hour, and the number of climbers hit was unknown. On Monday, rescuers armed with thermal drones searched for body heat from potential survivors trapped in ice, but authorities predict the chances of finding additional survivors now “are slim to nothing.”
- Experts at Italy’s polar sciences institute said most of the glacier’s volume is already gone and it will cease to exist in 25-30 years. The Mediterranean basin, shared by southern Europe, the Middle East, and northern Africa, has been identified by U.N. experts as a “climate change hot spot.” (CBS News)
Additional World News
- Copenhagen mall shooting: suspect was known to psychiatric professionals, police say (CNN)
- Renowned scientist Dmitry Kolker dies after being taken from his hospital bed on espionage charges in Russia: “Extremely cruel and unusual” (CBS)
- Turkey halts Russian ship, investigates Ukrainian claims -senior official (Reuters)
- Twelve bodies recovered from Chinese ship sunk by typhoon (WaPo, $)
- Indian police say they have arrested ‘masterminds’ behind brutal killing of Hindu tailor (CNN)
- Can the G7 proposal for a cap on Russian oil prices work? (Al Jazeera)
- Germany’s 15 billion euro credit line for gas might not be enough, regulator warns (Reuters)
Suspect In Illinois Shooting Caught
- On Monday evening, police in Highland Park, Illinois arrested Robert E. Crimo III, 22, a suspect in the deadly shooting of six people and wounding of dozens more who were enjoying the July Fourth parade earlier in the day. Shortly after 10 a.m., the celebratory parade through the affluent Chicago suburb was nearly completed when the shooter began firing at spectators with a high-powered rifle from atop a building.
- The gunman escaped, but was found after several hours with his probable weapon. Video from the scene showed blood pooled on the sidewalk; nearby, chairs, toys, and blankets were strewn about, left behind in a chaotic escape from gunfire.
- About two hours after the shooting, Illinois state senator and Trump-backed candidate for governor, Dan Bailey, released a campaign video on Facebook. Bailey, surrounded by supporters holding “Fire Pritzker” signs, said: “Now let’s move on and celebrate the independence of this nation … We have got to get corruption and evil out of our govt.” Bailey faces incumbent Democratic Governor Pritzker in the fall. (WaPo, $)
Hell In High Water
- 17-year-old Addison Bethea was scalloping in shallow waters off the coast of Keaton Beach near Tallahassee, Florida last week when a shark suddenly approached and latched onto the upper part of her right leg. Her older brother, firefighter Rhett Willingham, managed to fend off the shark and provide emergency medical support after pulling her to safety.
- Bethea survived the attack but now faces surgery on Tuesday to amputate her leg. Neither authorities nor witnesses have been able to confirm the species of shark that attacked Bethea, although people who saw it happen later estimated that the animal was roughly 9 feet long.
- This attack was one of the latest in an alarming pattern of similar incidents. Shark attacks increased worldwide in 2021, with more recorded in the U.S. than any other country. Roughly 40% of the 73 unprovoked shark bites reported globally stemmed from incidents occurring in Florida. (CBS News)
Additional USA News
- This woman died because of an abortion ban. Americans fear they could be next. (NBC)
- Kristi Noem defends South Dakota’s abortion ‘trigger’ ban when asked if 10-year-old should be forced to give birth (CNN)
- City of Orlando apologizes for Fourth of July message following backlash (The Hill)
- Homeland security secretary warns against crossing US-Mexico border (Guardian)
- Newsom running ads attacking GOP in Florida: ‘Don’t let them take your freedom’ (The Hill)
- Next up: voting rights, as US supreme court set to tear up more protections (Guardian)
- Supreme Court marshal asks state officials to act on protests at justices’ homes (NPR)
Park! Who Goes There?
- Anyone who’s been to San Francisco knows it can be very tricky to park on those steep, hilly, busy streets. Judy and Ed Craine’s home is on one of those streets, but at least there’s a concrete pad in front of the house that they’ve been parking on for the past 36 years. They always considered themselves lucky to be able to do that. Then one day they got a $1,542 fine for parking on their own property – with the threat of a $250-per-day fee if they didn’t get the car off their carpad. Turns out the San Francisco Planning Department is enforcing a decades-old section of code that bans motor vehicles of all kinds from being parked on a carpad or setback in front of a house unless it’s accompanied by a garage or cover.
- Since the couple believed there’s been a ‘parking pad’ in the front of the house since it was built in 1910, they figured the planning department had made a mistake, and they said so. The department told the couple the city would waive the fine if they could prove the lot has historically been used for parking. The Craines dug up a 34-year-old photo of their daughter where their car is just visible in the driveway – but officials said the photo wasn’t old enough. Then, after a lot of Googling, they found a blurry aerial photo from 1938 that shows a car – or possibly a horse-and-buggy – pulling into the driveway of the home, but that wasn’t good enough either.
- The department chief said the ordinance had been adopted years ago for aesthetic reasons and no exceptions could be made. He even said he sympathized with the Craines, but the city couldn’t grandfather in illegal uses just because they’d “flown below the radar for a length of time.” In the end, the city closed the case against the Craines and voided the fines after the couple agreed not to use the carpad. One question remains: what busybody spoilsport made the anonymous complaint against the Craines (and two of their neighbors who also got tagged with the same violation)? (ABC News)
- Last WWII Medal of Honor recipient to lie in honor at Capitol (Politico)
- NASA satellite breaks from orbit around Earth, heads to moon (ABC)
- President Biden Announces Recipients of the Presidential Medal of Freedom (White House)
- China rejects NASA accusation it will take over the moon (Reuters)
- The Earth’s magnetic poles (probably) aren’t about to flip, scientists say (NBC)
- A Refreshing Look at Egypt’s Ancient Pyramids (NYT, $)
- Worker who was accidentally paid 330 times his salary offers resignation and vanishes without a trace, report says (Yahoo)