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    • Texas police officer sues Ford, claims his squad SUV made him sick


      iStock/Thinkstock(AUSTIN, Texas) -- A Texas police officer has filed a lawsuit against Ford Motor Company, claiming that his squad car literally made him sick.

      Austin Police Sgt. Zachary LaHood was issued a 2011 Ford Explorer, a sport utility vehicle that's popular with police departments around the country. In March, while he was behind the wheel of the SUV, LaHood passed out and had a minor accident.

      His attorney, Brian Chase, blames an exhaust leak that's been found in that model.

      "I want the public to be outraged over our police driving these cars to protect us, sometimes at very high rates of speed, are at risk of passing out and not only killing themselves, but crashing into us," Chase said.

      LaHood alleges that Ford Motor Co. knew about a potential exhaust leak in 2011 to 2015 Explorer police models and issued a recall. The automaker says it's aware of an odor in some Explorers, but adds that its own investigation has determined that it isn't a health or safety risk.

      The sergeant says he has lingering neurological damage and wants over a million dollars from Ford and the dealership which, his lawsuit alleges, failed to fix the problem.

      Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

    • Study: Gunmakers ramping up production, focusing on 'freedom and security' message


      Photodisc/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Gun makers have boosted production in recent years, focusing on more high-caliber pistols and rifles designed for self-defense and shifting away from recreational firearms used for hunting and target shooting, the authors of a new study said.

      Gun violence kills more than 36,000 Americans each year, according to statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Authors of the study, published Thursday in The American Journal of Preventive Medicine, said research has focused on victims of gun violence and government policies, while their study is one of the first to focus on gun industry practices.

      Looking at data compiled by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the researchers noted a significant increase in gun manufacturing overall from 2005 to 2013, in contrast to a slight downward trend before 2005.

      They also found that driving this growth was higher production of pistols and rifles, and the pistols tended to be higher-caliber models, or ones that fire larger bullets. The authors said that five major gun manufacturers control nearly 60 percent of the market, so changes in production of one manufacturer could significantly affect the others.

      "It seems clear to us that the trend is for self-defense," lead study author Dr. Michael Siegel told ABC News.

      Siegel, a professor of community health sciences at the Boston University School of Public Health, further suggested that the findings provide evidence of a change in consumer demand.

      "[Manufacturers] have reinvented guns not as a recreational sport or tool but as a symbol of freedom and security," he said.

      The study authors further suggested that the issue of gun violence should shift from the criminal justice perspective to the public health arena -- a point that has been opposed by the National Shooting Sports Foundation, a major industry organization for gun manufacturers.

      "Guns are not a disease," Lawrence G. Keane, the foundation's senior vice president and general counsel, told ABC News in a statement. "There is no vaccine or health intervention for the criminal misuse of firearms."

      Siegel, however, said the study is important because it points to the industry's responsibility in preventing gun violence.

      He added that the goal of the research was not to deprive gun owners of their weapons.

      "They are not the enemy in public health," he said. "There are ways to reduce gun violence while valuing gun owners' values … It has been painted too long as mutually exclusive."

      Siegel said that the group's next research steps are to identify the most effective methods and policies for isolating the small number of people who are most likely to commit acts of violence using guns.

      "The solution lies in not taking guns away from people who are law-abiding but by being more effective at keeping guns out of the hands of the people who are at highest risk of gun violence," he said.

      Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

    • Michigan grandmother's cherry-infused vodka hits the market


      Courtesy Kyle Miller(LANSING, Mich.) -- Hedy Steinbart, 92, learned how to make cherry-infused vodka from her parents in Germany in the 1940s.

      Today, Steinbart can go to her local liquor store in Lansing, Michigan, and purchase a bottle of her own drink thanks to her 28-year-old grandson, who created Oma’s Cherry Infused Vodka as a passion project to continue his grandmother’s legacy.

      “Our whole family was crying when we saw that,” Steinbart’s grandson, Kyle Miller, 28, said of the moment this month that Steinbart first saw her drink for sale on a store shelf. “My goal was nothing more than to carry on Oma’s legacy.”

      Miller, one of Steinbart’s four grandsons, has vivid memories from his childhood of watching Steinbart, who goes by Oma, German for grandmother, create her famous drink that was a staple at holidays and family celebrations.

      Steinbart, with the help of family, including her two children, would handpick cherries, place them in glass jars with vodka and other secret ingredients, and leave it to infuse for four months, occasionally adding sugar and more alcohol throughout the process.

      When Steinbart, who emigrated to the U.S. as a single woman in 1952, had to stop making the drink at age 90, Miller learned the process from her personally.

      In 2015, Miller, who works in the insurance industry, decided to make the drink for his family and close friends and had 75 pounds of Michigan cherries shipped to his apartment in Chicago, where the Michigan native moved after college.

      "My roommate thought I was crazy," he said.

      Miller had a graphic designer make a label that told the history of his grandmother and the family recipe and shipped the bottles off as Christmas gifts.

      “My college friends all loved Oma so I sent it to all of them of course,” Miller said. “Once people got it they said, ‘This is awesome. I’ve got a wedding coming up. I want a case. I want more.’”

      Miller then embarked on what he calls his “passion project” and partnered with a distiller to make Steinbart’s homemade recipe scale-able for the mass market. The final product, which still uses handpicked Michigan cherries, was approved by Steinbart.

      “When we were trying to replicate the recipe, she would taste it and we did a blind taste test,” Miller said. “She’s going to tell you if she likes it or not so when we passed the blind taste test, I knew we were onto something.”

      Steinbart said her grandson put “quite an effort” into the years-long process of bringing the drink from her kitchen to stores.

      “I’m a little excited I think and surprised too, but nothing surprises me with Kyle,” she said.

      Oma’s Cherry Infused Vodka hit store shelves in Illinois in March and in the family’s home state of Michigan this month. The drink, which ranges in price from $34.95 to $39, is also available online and still features Steinbart's immigration and family story on the label.

      "I have the ultimate respect for what she did and the label depicts what she means for our family," said Miller, who is now working with his business partners to raise additional capital to expand the brand to the Northeast.

      Steinbart, whose photo is also featured on the bottle, is still adjusting to the fame that came once her drink hit the market. She has been stopped at church and by her doctor, while members of her daughter’s book club who tried to buy the drink locally were stopped because it was sold out.

      “I can’t even tell you how amazing it is and what a wonderful tribute it is to my mom and how fun it’s all been,” said Steinbart's daughter, Dory Steinbart, who is also Miller’s mom.

      Dory Steinbart said she believes Miller wanted to carry on his grandmother’s legacy because Hedy Steinbart's story is one of “a resilient spirit.”

      “They started with nothing and truly lived the American dream by working hard and saving their money,” Dory Steinbart said of her mom and dad, who passed away in 2003. “And they helped put all of four of their grandsons through college because they thought that so was important.”

      Hedy Steinbart, who worked as a tailor and is also famous in the family for her homemade applesauce, described her success story more simply.

      “It’s hard work and it pays off,” she said.

      Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

    • Little change on Wall Street as stocks give back early gains


      JaysonPhotography/iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Another mixed day on Wall Street saw the indices give back most of their early-session gains on Thursday.

      The Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped 12.74 to a close of 21,397.29.

      The Nasdaq climbed to 6,236.69, a gain of 2.74, while the S&P 500 dipped to 2,434.50, dropping 1.11 on the day.

      Some employees at Uber have circulated a petition to bring back CEO Travis Kalanick. Kalanick resigned the position this week amid controversy, but it remains unclear exactly how unpopular he was within the company he created.

      Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

    • FCC fines Miami man $120 million for making more than 100 million spoofed robocalls


      BrianAJackson/iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- The Federal Communications Commission on Thursday announced a $120 million fine against a Miami man accused of making more than 100 million spoofed robocalls in a three-month span.

      According to the FCC, Adrian Abramovich used those spoofed calls to trick consumers into listening to his advertising messages. Approximately 80,000 spoofed calls were verified by the agency.

      According to a press release from the FCC, consumers reported receiving calls that they believed to be originating from local phone numbers. Once answered, however, an automated message encouraged them to "Press 1" to hear about travel deals. Those individuals who pressed the button were transferred to foreign call centers and operators attempted to sell them vacation packages, and often timeshares.

      The call centers were not affiliated with the comnpanies mentioned in the recorded message.

      TripAdvisor contacted the FCC regarding the calls in 2016, following complaints from customers who believed the company was responsible for the robocalls. Medical paging provider Spok also issued a complaint to the FCC, saying that the calls disrupted its network.

      Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

    • George Clooney, partners sell tequila company for $1 billion


      iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- George Clooney won't have to worry about a college fund for his newborn twins.

      The Oscar winner just sold his tequila business with partners Rande Gerber and Michael Meldman to British company Diageo for $1 billion, ABC News has confirmed.

      "If you asked us four years ago if we had a billion-dollar company, I don’t think we would have said yes," Clooney said in a statement. "This reflects Diageo’s belief in our company and our belief in Diageo."

      CNBC first reported on the deal, in which Diageo will pay an initial $700 million, with the potential for another $300 million over 10 years based on the tequila's performance.

      Clooney made it clear that although he and his partners sold the company, they will still be involved.

      "We’re not going anywhere," he said in his statement. "We’ll still be very much a part of Casamigos."

      The three friends started the company, which translates to "house of friends," as a private collection of tequilas meant just for their friends and family. But in 2013, they took the company public and Gerber, the husband of supermodel Cindy Crawford, told CNBC, "It immediately took off."

      Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

    • Energy stocks fall in tough day on Wall Street


      JaysonPhotography/iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- A rough day for energy stocks pushed Wall Street lower on Wednesday.

      The Dow Jones Industrial Average finished the day down 53.89, closing at 21,413.25.

      The Nasdaq gained 45.92 to a finish of 6,233.95, while the S&P 500 ended the session at 2,435.78, 1.25 lower than on Tuesday.

      Rig Operator Transocean saw its stock prices drop about five percent. AT&T dipped 1.3 percent.

      This year's J.D. Power annual initial quality survey saw Kia claim the top spot, boasting the best new vehicle quality for the second consecutive year. Genesis, Porsche, Ford and Ram were in the top five.

      The worst ranking brands were Fiat, Jaguar, Volvo, Mitsubishi and Land Rover.

      Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

    • 167 drivers pay it forward in McDonald's drive-thru


      McDonald's(SCOTTSBURG, Ind.) -- McDonald’s cashier Hunter Hostetler is on the lookout for the customer who started a 167-driver pay-it-forward chain at the Scottsburg, Indiana, McDonald’s where Hostetler has worked since October.

      “I keep looking for her, hoping I see her and can tell her what happened,” Hostetler told ABC News. “I don’t know if she knows, but I hope to see her again so I can tell her.”

      Hostetler, 19, was working the drive-thru on Sunday night when, at around 8:30 p.m., the mystery woman drove to the window to pick up her approximately $6 food order.

      When the woman, whom Hostetler described as being in her early 60s, saw there was a man with four kids in the car behind her, she told Hostetler she’d pay for his $36 food order too.

      “She paid it in full and told me to tell the dad Happy Father’s Day,” Hostetler recalled.

      When Hostetler told the man that his four Happy Meals and other food were paid for, he offered to pay for the next two cars behind him.

      “It just snowballed from there up until we closed,” Hostetler said.

      When Hostetler closed the drive-thru at midnight, the total number of cars who had joined the pay it forward chain was up to 167.

      “It was very heartwarming,” Hostetler said. “The last customer who came through even asked if there was another car and I said, ‘Ma’am I’m sorry you’re our last customer for the night. We’re closing.’”

      Abby Smith, 22, said she and her boyfriend made a last-minute decision to go to McDonald’s around 11:30 p.m. on Sunday and were shocked to find themselves as car No. 161 in the chain.

      “I was just shocked because of the large number,” Smith said. “I didn’t even think about it I just said, ‘Go ahead, take what the previous person put down. Go ahead and take that from us too.’”

      She added, "This made me feel like it was just a big family congregation. It was such a great feeling.”

      Hostetler recalled that customers like Smith paid little attention to whether or not the meal they were paying for was three or four times the cost of what they ordered for themselves. For customers who could not afford to pay the difference, Hostetler and his colleague, Jessica Wells, donated money out of their own pockets to help.

      “There’s so much negativity in the world,” Hostetler said. “Something like this just doesn’t happen every day.”

      Frank Ward, the owner of the Scottsburg McDonald's, described the chain as an "act of kindness."

      "McDonald's believes in supporting the local communities in which we operate," Ward said in a statement to ABC News. "I was proud to experience the Scottsburg community come together in this act of kindness under the Golden Arches."



      Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

    • Surprising drop for Apple's Tim Cook on highest-rated CEO list


      Photo by Stephen Lam/Getty Images(NEW YORK) --  A number of tech company leaders made Glassdoor's list of the 100 highest-rated CEOs for 2017, but one in particular saw his stock fall.

      The list, released on Wednesday, uses ratings from anonymous employees to review those in charge of their own companies. The ratings are then combined with an algorithm to rank the best executives.

      Clorox CEO Benno Dorer came out on top this year, receiving a rating of 99 percent. That figure was equaled by World Wide Technology's Jim Kavanagh, Boston Scientific's Michael Mahoney, Memorial Sloan Kettering's Craig B. Thompson, Fast Enterprises' Martin Rankin, and NVIDIA's Jen-Hsun Huang.

      Last year's top executive, Bain & Company's Bob Bechek, slipped to number seven this year, with a rating of 98%.

      The biggest names on the list included SpaceX's Elon Musk (8th) and Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg (10th), each with a 98% approval rating.

      Apple's Tim Cook, who placed in the top 20 each of the last four years, saw his approval rating come in at 93 percent -- only good enough for 53rd on Glassdoor's list.

      By comparison, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella made his first appearance on the list, at number 29.

      Still, the drop from number one to Cook's 53rd place finish only includes a six percent decrease in approval rating.

      A spokeswoman for Glassdoor told CNET that the average rating for a CEO is 67 percent, making Cook's grade more than satisfactory.

      Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

    • Uber CEO Travis Kalanick resigns


      Uber(NEW YORK) -- Travis Kalanick, the embattled CEO of the ride-hailing company Uber, resigned on Tuesday, a company spokesperson told ABC News.

      The resignation comes amid a decision by company shareholders who pushed for his exit.

      "I love Uber more than anything in the world and at this difficult moment in my personal life I have accepted the investors request to step aside so that Uber can go back to building rather than be distracted with another fight," Mr. Kalanick said in a statement.

      Already before his resignation, Kalanick last week announced that he would be taking an indefinite leave of absence that he said would give him time to work on becoming a better leader. He also said that he needed the time away to grieve the loss of his mother, who died in a boating accident less than a month ago.

      While Kalanick launched Uber into one of the world's most ubiquitous companies, his tenure has been marked by a number of controversies.

      His leave of absence came shortly after former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder released a 13-page list of recommendations on how the company could improve its business culture.

      Holder, now a partner at the law firm Covington & Burling, was tapped by the company to conduct a review of the company's workplace environment after a former employee alleged that she had been sexually harassed and discriminated against while working there.

      About 20 employees were fired as a result of that investigation, according to the company.

      Separately, Uber board member David Bonderman, one of the first to invest in the company, stepped down last week after he was accused of making sexist remarks toward fellow board member Arianna Huffington.

      Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

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