Trending News for May 7

Hostages Inside Wells Fargo Bank Released; Luka Doncic, Highest Technical Fouls; Got Vaccinated? Grab these Free Stuff; Chicago Restaurants and Hotels in Need of Workers; Chicago Water Taxi Reopening

Hostages Held Inside Wells Fargo Bank were Released; Suspect in Custody

Bank employees of Wells Fargo in St. Cloud, Minnesota, were held hostage inside the bank, and police and FBI had successfully negotiated their release. The six hours standoff had the negotiators working late into the evening of Thursday. At least four hostages, all bank employees, were released shortly before 10 p.m. CT, according to The Associated Press.

St. Cloud Police initially responded to a report of a possible robbery in progress on Thursday afternoon at Wells Fargo Bank at 200-33rd Ave. S in St. Cloud, according to the police report. The attempted robbery turned into a hostage crisis that lasted for several hours.

“We can confirm a hostage situation at Wells Fargo’s St. Cloud South branch, located at 200 33rd Avenue South. We recognize this is a traumatic moment for the community and our colleagues. The safety and security of our customers and employees is our most important priority,” said Staci Schiller, Wells Fargo spokesperson. “We are cooperating with local law enforcement and will do whatever we can to assist the authorities in their investigation.”

Spokeswoman Lt. Lori Ellering told Fox News that the police deployed all of their resources to the scene with the assistance of the FBI. The negotiators had been working to free all hostages.

In the videos posted to Twitter by a reporter for WCCO, Jeff Wagner, it can be seen that hostages were being released from the bank. In the footage, armed officers are huddled outside the bank as the individuals walk out and are led away from the building.

According to Wagner, just before 6:30 p.m, one hostage was released unharmed, then a second around 7:45 p.m., a third around 7:50 p.m., and the fourth was let out after 8 p.m, leaving one inside.

Hundreds of onlookers watched the situation unfold, and many erupted into cheers when some of the hostages were released. Shortly before 11:30 p.m. CT, the suspect was seen being led out of the bank.

Abdi Kadir, a St. Cloud resident, told the paper he was at the bank drive-through just before 2 p.m. when the teller told him to leave quickly. He said he saw people running out the bank’s front door as he drove off.

Luka Doncic has the Highest Number of Technical Fouls in the NBA

Luka Doncic understands he’s been a bit more prone to losing his temper this season. With 15 technical fouls in 59 games, the Dallas Mavericks star is tied with Philadelphia 76ers center Dwight Howard for the most in the NBA. Doncic also understands one more tech will earn him an automatic one-game suspension. 

Speaking to the Inside the NBA crew on TNT after defeating the Brooklyn Nets, 113-109, on Thursday, Doncic was asked about how he’ll approach the slim margin for error and responded with some self-reflection. 

“With officials, I wasn’t myself this season,” Doncic said. “I’m complaining way too much and I’ve got to work on that. I’ve got to stay calm and just not talk to them. I’ve got to learn from that.”

Dallas has six games left in the regular season, and with Kristaps Porzinigs (knee) still sidelined, the Mavs can’t afford to lose Doncic, either. Certainly not with playoff seeding at stake. 

Doncic addressed the issue during his postgame interview with the TNT crew after the Mavericks’ 113-109 win over the Brooklyn Nets and elaborated in a virtual media availability minutes later.

“I realize it,” Doncic said. “It’s something that I’m not supposed to do. [It’s difficult] with all the emotions in games, but obviously I’ve got to stop. It’s just hard for me on the court with all the emotions, but I realize it and I’ve got to work on this. It’s tough to do it, but I’ve got to work on it and be way better than this.”

Though Doncic has been called for 16 technical fouls this season, the one he received for yelling, “And-1!” during an April 2 win over the New York Knicks was later rescinded by the league office and does not count toward his official total. He has been called for 10 technical fouls in 28 games since the All-Star break.

Players are automatically suspended for a game after receiving 16 technical fouls in the regular season, and every two technical fouls after that result in another one-game suspension. Those totals do not carry over into the playoffs when players are suspended a game after their seventh technical foul of the postseason.

Got Vaccinated? Grab these Free Stuff

Surviving the COVID-19 pandemic, getting vaccinated is enough reason to celebrate. As the vaccines become more readily available, businesses want to reward our citizens who have taken vaccines with special offers after getting their shots.

In a list put together by CNN Business, these are the companies providing freebies when you show proof of vaccination.

Budweiser is giving a free beer to anyone 21 years old and up, until May 16, or while supplies last — to those who could provide their proof of vaccination on Bud fans must first have to register at the company’s website.

Junior’s Cheesecake
Today until Memorial Day, Junior’s Restaurant is offering a free mini cheesecake to anybody who shows up with their vaccine card at their landmark restaurant at Flatbush Ave. and DeKalb in Downtown Brooklyn. (In New York City only.)

Krispy Kreme
In a press release by Krispy Kreme, you can get one free glazed doughnut every day if you take your vaccination card to any Krispy Kreme location in the US. To qualify, the card must indicate one or two shots of any COVID-19 vaccine, and the offer must be redeemed in-store. You don’t need to purchase anything to get your daily free doughnut.

Nathan’s Hot Dogs
Visit Nathan’s Famous in Coney Island with your vaccination card on the day of your shot to get a free hot dog. (In New York City only.)

Staples and Office Depot
Staples and Office Depot is offering free laminating services for COVID-19 vaccination cards. According to a Staples spokesperson, the free laminating service is available at all Staples locations in the US and currently has no end date.

White Castle
From April 22 through May 31, the burger chain White Castle gives a free dessert-on-a-stick to anyone who will bring their vaccination card. No other purchase is necessary. White Castle offers four versions of the desert on a stick: Gooey Buttercake-on-a-Stick, Fudge Dipped Brownie-on-a-Stick, Fudge Dipped Cheesecake-on-a-Stick.

Chicago Restaurants and Hotels are in Need of Workers

People are starting to go back to their everyday lives, and more businesses are easing restrictions as the COVID-19 infections decline. America’s employers deliver another month of robust hiring, reinforcing the economy’s steady rebound from the pandemic recession.

As Chicago prepares to fully reopen starting this month towards July 4, the hospitality industry desperately seeks to employ more. Many hotels in the city and nationwide are having trouble finding enough employees to meet the demand of reopening.

“It’s a labor shortage at every level,” said Bob Habeeb of Maverick Hotels. “It’s not just housekeepers, bartenders, and servers; there’s a shortage of managers.”

Habeeb said when the hospitality industry came to an abrupt stop in 2020 and workers couldn’t afford to wait for hotels to reopen, they sought employment in other industries or services.

“I spoke with someone who was a long-time manager at Hilton, for example, and she told me she went to work for Amazon,” he said.

Many have left the industry; some even left the state.

“They’ve gone to Florida, Texas, Tennessee, or Wisconsin, where other markets remained open during the pandemic,” said Adam Gurgiolo, general manager of Hotel Monico.

Housekeeping and restaurant staff remain the most significant needs right now, according to Gurgiolo. Some businesses are raising wages and benefits to attract workers.

“We feel like we are ahead of the curve and feel like we are doing a good job of getting our places staffed,” said John Aldape.

The hotels and restaurants are in a hurry to resume regular operations and they will do whatever it takes to get staff back. Owners and managers predict a record-breaking profit for this summer, with so much pent-up demand to finally get out and have fun.

according to a survey by FactSet, the economists have forecasted that the nation added 975,000 jobs last month and that the country’s unemployment is down from 6% to 5.8%. This job gains increase was essentially unheard of before the pandemic.

Chicago Water Taxi is Reopening this Summer

The Chicago Water Taxi, Wendella Tours and Cruises, has announced that it will resume its operations this summer. The plans to reopen were carefully aligned with the enhanced COVID-19 preventative protocols required by the City. On May 29, Memorial Day weekend, the iconic yellow boats will return to the water, ferrying passengers up and down the Chicago River. Its services were suspended last year due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Safety precautions against the COVID-19 pandemic will be observed. The water taxi will impose new protocols, such as a mask requirement, cashless transactions, and social distancing, among other guidelines. The vessels are ADA accessible, allow bicycles and food, offer amenities such as restrooms and washrooms, and use climate control.

The water taxi will service commuters and tourists seven days a week, with trips down the Chicago River Ogilvie/Union (West Loop), Michigan Avenue, Chicago Riverwalk, Goose Island, Chinatown, and Chicago Avenue.

Ticket prices run as follows:
$6 for a one-way pass
$10 for an all-day pass
$25 for a 10-ride pass for Monday through Friday
$50 for Saturday and Sunday
$80 for a 31-day commuter pass

Starting this month, more and more Chicago services are returning and reopening as COVID-19 metrics are achieved, and the public health situation has improved all across the City.

On Wednesday, Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot announced the return of summer events as part of the “Open Culture” phase of the City’s efforts to slowly reopen. The announcement came after the Mayor declared the return of the Chicago Auto Show, as well as the goal of fully reopening the City by July 4.

Each boat will be limited to one-third capacity – about 50 people each – due to COVID-19 safety procedures. The water taxis will be operating from 6:45 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. on weekdays, and on weekends, from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.