May 17, 2022

JLo and Ben Affleck; COVID-19 Vaccines for 12 to 15-year-olds; “Mattel PlayBack”: Send Back Your Old Barbie for Recycling; Chicago City Hall Emails Exposed; Navy Pier Flyover Opens with a Ribbon-Cutting by Chicago Mayor

Jennifer Lopez and Ben Affleck Spent a Week Together in Montana

Jennifer Lopez and Ben Affleck are going from friendly exes to something more, after seventeen years since calling off their 2002 engagement, as confirmed by multiple sources to E! News. Lopez, 51, and Affleck, 48, were spotted in Montana, over a week after the exes were spotted at her Los Angeles home in late April.

According to a source, both of the stars were guests at the VAX LIVE concert in Los Angeles on Sunday, May 2, then they flew together to the Yellowstone Club in Montana, where they spent a week together. “They were alone. Just the two of them” says the source. The pair were later spotted arriving back in L.A. on Saturday on a private jet.

Lopez and Affleck were engaged back in 2002. They began dating in July 2002 while filming the movie Gigli, then he proposed in November with a custom-made Harry Winston 6.1-carat pink solitaire diamond ring. However, they decided to postpone their wedding in 2003 and have officially called it quits by January 2004.

On the Today show in 2014, Lopez said her breakup with Ben was her first big heartbreak. But she had no regrets about their relationship.

A day before their Montana sighting, Lopez and Affleck posted Mother’s Day tributes on social media about their respective families. Affleck posted his appreciation for Jennifer Garner, his ex-wife, with whom he shares daughters Violet, 15, Seraphina, 12, and son Samuel, 9. At the same time, Lopez shared photos of her 13-year-old twins Max and Emme, her children with ex-husband Marc Anthony.

“They have been in touch here and there throughout the years,” a second source close to Lopez told E! News, adding that the pair reunited after she returned from filming in the Dominican Republic.

“Ben reached out to her to see how she was doing, and they had dinner together a few times within this last month. It’s natural between them, and the chemistry is unreal. They picked up where they last left off and are enjoying each other’s company right now.” Said the source.

COVID-19 Vaccines for 12 to 15-year-olds Could Begin on Thursday

On Monday, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) expanded the emergency use authorization (EUA) for the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine to be administered to adolescents as young as 12 years old. President Joe Biden called it a promising development. The Immunization Practices Advisory Committee of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) will meet Wednesday now that the EUA has been expanded and is expected to vote on recommending the vaccine for the extended age group.

CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walenksy will then vote if she will give her final approval before the states can go ahead with the vaccination of 12 to 15-year-olds. The agency is also having a meeting next month with the vaccine advisors to discuss the authorization for vaccination of children below 12.

Across the U.S., pediatricians and pharmacies are getting ready to administer COVID-19 vaccines for 12 to 15-year-olds. Experts caution that they may still have serious long-term effects, although younger people may not be at high risk of dying from COVID.

On the day the CDC gave that authorization, Walgreens corporate spokesperson Erin Loverher said that Walgreens pharmacies would start administering it. Walgreens has been offering same-day vaccine scheduling.

Dr. Christoph Diasio, a pediatrician at Sandhills Pediatrics in Southern Pines, North Carolina, said they are prepared to start vaccinating as soon as possible with a delivery of 1,000 Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine doses which arrived early Monday morning.

Despite the optimism by many experts about the expansion of vacations, pediatricians are concerned about the challenge of balancing scheduling COVID-19 shots with getting children up to date on their childhood vaccines. The American Academy of Family Physicians recommends waiting two weeks after getting the COVID-19 vaccine before getting other immunizations.

The expanded authorization to adolescents aged 12 to 15 reaches COVID-19 vaccination to another 5% of the U.S. population, equivalent to nearly 17 million people. Overall, the expanded authorization resulted in 85% of the U.S. population being eligible to receive a COVID-19 vaccine.

“Mattel PlayBack”: Send Back Your Old Barbie and Matchbox to Mattel for Recycling

Mattel, the 76-year-old toy company, has launched its pilot program called “Mattel PlayBack.” The campaign is designed to recover and reuse materials in old Mattel toys for the company’s future products. They are basically encouraging you to send back your old toys once you are done playing with them.

The toy company announced that they are launching the program with three well-loved brands — Barbie, Matchbox, and MEGA toys — and will be adding other brands in the future.

The environmentally sustainable effort by Mattel was met with a positive reaction, especially by the 90s kids who have boxes and crates full of Barbies stored in their parent’s basements. This program is one of the company’s steps toward a sustainability-focused future. By 2030, Mattel has committed to using 100% recycled, recyclable or bio-based plastic materials on all of its packaging and products.

Visit Mattel’s website and participate in the program. Print the free shipping label, pack your toys and mail them back to the company. According to Mattel, the toys they will receive from the consumers will be sorted and separated by material type and processed and recycled. If the materials cannot be repurposed as recycled content for new toys, they will either be converted from waste to energy or downcycled into other plastic products.

“We get to keep these valuable materials out of a landfill and have the opportunity to learn from the circular model,” Pamela Gill-Alabaster, Mattel’s global head of sustainability, told CNN Business.

Initially, this recycling initiative will be available in the United States and Canada, but the company is extending similar PlayBack efforts in Germany, France, and the United Kingdom with a third-party partner. Mattel also experimented with a similar campaign in Canada in 2020, with MEGA toys in partnership with a recycling company based in New Jersey, the TerraCycle.

Exploring other alternatives to plastic is crucial to tackling climate change. It is essential for companies to adopt “eco-friendly” marketing as consumers are increasingly aware of how their choices and actions affect the environment. Plastic waste has had devastating effects on the planet, from greenhouse gas emissions to clogging waterways and plastic accumulation in bodies of water.

Chicago City Hall Emails Exposed by Hackers

Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s administration is under fire after hacked City Hall emails were released to the public. The Mayor’s Office is on the defense after the hackers exposed a cache of emails between Lightfoot and her staff. The details remain unconfirmed at the moment, and Lightfoot and City departments declined to respond to questions about the purported hacking incident.

According to reports, thousands of government emails were compromised during a data transfer to a third-party law firm. The messages were email exchanges among four former city employees over a period of two years. The cache of emails was part of the files given to the Jones Day law firm in a review process of how the city handled the police raid on Anjanette Young’s residence. The data theft happened when Jones Day transferred the data to a third party.

Distributed Denial of Secrets, a WikiLeaks-type organization, posted the emails posted online. However, the emails were not independently verified.

The Chicago Sun-Times published a story on Monday morning, reporting that the emails were related to the issue of whether the Civilian Office of Police Accountability (COPA) is violating state law by investigating fatal Chicago police shootings. The emails show Lightfoot’s staff trying to present alternatives to COPA who was handling the investigations.

Among other topics reportedly covered was Lightfoot’s opposition to the release of inmates from jail during the start of the pandemic by Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart’s office. Also, Lightfoot’s concerns about the enforcement of stay-at-home orders.

Mayor Lori Lightfoot said on Monday that she would not discuss the substance of the hacked emails.

“I’m not going to be commenting on specific emails, things that may be extrapolated out because we have no way of knowing whether or not those emails are in fact legitimate,” Lightfoot said.

“I would just be very, very cautious,” she added. “I’ve seen this happen in other instances. I’ve seen it from my perspective as a lawyer representing clients, and oftentimes what happens is you get things out of context, or they’ve been manipulated to make a particular political statement.”

Navy Pier Flyover Opens with a Ribbon-Cutting by Chicago Mayor

Officials from the Chicago Department of Transportation and the Chicago Park District, and other State and local officials joined Mayor Lightfoot and Gov. JB Pritzker at the ribbon-cutting ceremony for the newly-completed Navy Pier Flyover Project.

The official statement of the Office of the Mayor said:

‘Mayor Lori E. Lightfoot today joined Governor Pritzker, the Chicago Department of Transportation (CDOT), the Chicago Park District, and other state and local officials at the ribbon-cutting for the Navy Pier Flyover Project. The transformative pedestrian and bike bridge links the two halves of Chicago’s signature Lakefront Trail and creates an uninterrupted, 18-mile ribbon from 71st Street to Hollywood Avenue.’

‘The Lakefront Trail is undoubtedly one of Chicago’s crown jewels-a reputation that has only been amplified thanks to the completion of the Navy Pier Flyover project, which seamlessly connects our North and South Sides,’ said Mayor Lightfoot. ‘This incredible project also improves public safety and provides stunning views of our lakefront and Navy Pier for pedestrians, joggers, and bikers alike. I am thrilled to finally be able to cut the ribbon to this project and open it up for our residents to enjoy just in time for the summer.’

Chicago receives millions of visitors every year, and the Chicago Lakefront is one of the City’s most-visited tourist spots. The Navy Pier Flyover offers a breath-taking view of the lake. The Flyover is a pedestrian and bike bridge made of steel and concrete. It runs along the stretch of the east side of Lake Shore Drive.

For almost half a mile, it extends from Jane Addams Park and the Ohio Street Beach until the south side of the Chicago River. The Flyover also includes a ramp for pedestrians and a bike lane that connects the trail to Navy Pier.

The Flyover project has won several awards, including the ACEC of Illinois Lincoln’s Grand Conceptor award this year. The project was also on the list by Roads & Bridges Magazine as one of the Top 10 Bridge Projects of 2020.