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Platte River Cruise Events gets to a hot start

Platte River Cruise Events gets to a hot start

NORTH PLATTE, Neb. (KNOP) -Platte River Cruise Weekend events officially got under way on Friday. This is a weekend where cars of all makes and models get a chance to be on display and to be glorified by car lovers.

The weekend kicked off with the Freestyle Burnout, where cars in a stationary position spun their wheels, causing friction on the tires which heat up and cause smoke.

“Everybody likes the burnout contest, its a lot of fun and there’s a lot of excitement as well,” said Rob Coppa, founder of the Platte River Cruise Events.

Saturday is day two of the weekend events and starts with the opening ceremony at 8:45 a.m. at the Canteen District. The night finishes with performances by No Drinking On Grounds at 6 p.m. and The Grind 5280 at 8 p.m.

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COMMENTARY: Graduation hot take: As temperatures rise reconsider outdoor events

COMMENTARY: Graduation hot take: As temperatures rise reconsider outdoor events
Credit: Margo Rosenbaum

Graduation 2022 at UC Davis after the heat-related problems had been worked out.

The class of 2022 deserves the highest acknowledgement — we are pandemic graduates.

On Sunday, June 12, I graduated from UC Davis. Despite having to wake up at 5:15 a.m., I was elated to have family members, friends and my partner with me at UC Davis Health Stadium. I loved listening to the wise words of the commencement speaker, sitting beside my fellow graduates and hearing my name announced. It felt like the graduation I deserved after four years of grueling college coursework.

However, when the plans unraveled at two of the three undergraduate ceremonies, many students were denied that same special experience.

As people know by now, the extreme heat at the outdoor ceremony caused 36 grads and attendees to seek medical aid, with seven people hospitalized.

Mother nature alone cannot be blamed, however. Poor planning exacerbated a bad situation.

With late start times, a shortage of drinking water, last-minute planning changes and a lack of shade from the violent sun, there were many ways the ceremonies were a disaster.

Kylie Crisostomo-Rickman, a UC Davis alumna who graduated on Friday, June 10, left the ceremony around 11 a.m. without walking. “How did they plan this so poorly with knowing everything that they do?” she said. “If they say they’re going to sit us down at 7 a.m., then they should sit us down at 7 a.m.”

Admittedly, the commencement planners had a lot to contend with. Melissa Blouin, a spokesperson for UC Davis, said that ceremonies were planned early to beat the heat. The university “believed” they had adequate water resources, but “unexpected delays” on Friday morning put “increasing strain” on the supplies as the heat grew “beyond when was expected.”

Still, a bigger question remains: Can an outdoor graduation in June, especially in a place like Davis with temperatures regularly hitting the 90s and 100s, really be held safely?

Paul Ullrich, professor of regional and global climate modeling at UC Davis, said Davis is already feeling the impacts of climate change — the city’s average temperatures have increased about 2.5 degrees from before the 1970s.

Extreme temperature events are typically “highly predictable,” he said, meaning that people are well aware of increasing heat before it hits. In fact, the day before the Friday ceremony, UC Davis tweeted a warning about the expected heat.

“We knew many days in advance the exact temperatures that we would be experiencing and at what time of day,” Ullrich said.

For future planning, it is important to note that days reaching 103 degrees or above are becoming more frequent in the Davis and Sacramento region, Ullrich said. In fact, the region now sees an annual average of 10 extreme temperature days.

Due to the chaos of commencement, UC Davis community members, including me, are expecting plans that better account for the variability of climate change for future events.

“The biggest effect of climate change, besides increasing temperatures, is more frequent occurrence of any sort of extreme event or freak event,” Ullrich said. “It becomes more difficult to plan for things long term in light of climate change, because it exacerbates ‘variability’ as we say, meaning that you get more extremes on both sides of the spectrum, and usually with less warning.”

Said Blouin, via email, “These extremes, exacerbated by climate change, bleed over into the potential for power outages and diminished water supply, which in-turn bolster our need for sustainable practices. While there is no easy answer for any of the above, UC Davis remains committed to being a leader in finding global solutions.”

UC Davis news and media relations issued a statement and Chancellor Gary May apologized for the spoiled celebration.

“One of the lessons we learned is there’s a lot of uncontrollable things that happen outdoors,” May said in an Instagram video. “Heat, smoke, wind, all these things that could happen, so I think my preference would be that we find an indoor venue.”

Indoor events bring fewer unexpected risks — that, in my eyes, is the solution for events in the summertime, especially as the effects of climate change worsen.

I have faith that UC Davis will grow from its mistakes. I urge my peers to not let the failed ceremonies spoil their view of college — really, it is the years of classes, friends and memories that matter most.

I wish all graduates the best in their future endeavors. Regardless of what happened at commencement, we are UC Davis graduates, and that is something to celebrate.


Margo Rosenbaum is a member of EdSource’s California College Journalism Corps. She graduated from UC Davis in June 2022 with a bachelor’s degree in Evolution, Ecology and Biodiversity as well as Communication.

The opinions in this commentary are those of the author. If you would like to submit a commentary, please review our guidelines and contact us.

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Uber will order your hot dogs at games now. Getting a ride is harder.

Uber will order your hot dogs at games now. Getting a ride is harder.
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Ride-hailing app Uber unveiled a suite of new offerings this week, from charter buses to skip-the-line food ordering at sporting events, aimed at grabbing more business in more places. Meanwhile, some riders are just hoping their cars show up without a hitch.

Take Jonah Bliss, a marketing consultant in Los Angeles. He said he called an Uber last week to take him to the airport. Before he booked, it listed the wait time as 10 minutes. Once he hit “confirm,” it shot up to 25 minutes. The switch felt disingenuous, he said.

“I work in marketing and am familiar with putting your best foot forward, but it’s hard to know when it crosses the line from being optimistic to being untrue,” he said.

Katie Pilot, who lives in the Los Angeles area and works in export logistics, prefers to take one of the ready-and-waiting yellow cabs when she’s leaving big events rather than wandering up a nearby side street to find her Uber. She still takes Ubers to the airport, but costs are creeping up, she said. Since drivers frequently cancel, she’s taken to paying the $16 fee to reserve her rides the night before. Her seven-mile trip to Los Angeles International Airport last month came in at $55.

“I’m really only using ride-share to get to the airport or around when I travel,” she said. “The rates have gotten too pricey to add on as an expense for a day or evening out.”

As some customers report paying more, Uber itself is trying to spend less. The looming economic downturn is driving the ride-hailing giant to cut costs, according to an email from CEO Dara Khosrowshahi to employees, even as its revenue bounces back from a pandemic-era dip. After a series of challenges including driver shortages and spiking gas prices, it’s hard to know where Uber’s latest product announcements fit in — and whether some elements, like autonomous sidewalk food-delivery robots, will ever come to fruition.

With gas prices soaring, Uber adds a customer surcharge to help offset fuel costs for drivers

Most of the new features Uber announced appear to be geared toward relatively small groups of customers, such as event planners, sports fans who really hate standing in line, and people who can use voice assistants without losing their minds.

“Some of these feel almost like a distraction,” Bliss said. “It’s like, ‘The thing you used Uber for doesn’t work, but now you can eat hot dogs at Dodger Stadium easier.’ ”

A spokesman for Uber said the company has more drivers in the United States now than it did at any other point during the pandemic, and that prices and reliability are improving. The number of drivers didn’t decrease in response to rising fuel prices, he said, and wait times in Los Angeles, where Bliss and Pilot live, have gone down 10 percent since this time last year.

Needy, overconfident voice assistants are wearing on their owners’ last nerves

Here’s what the company promised customers during Monday’s virtual unveiling.

  • Vouchers for events: People planning get-togethers such as weddings or conferences can give their guests voucher codes for rides or meals. (Organizers can set a maximum price, which helps with setting budgets and preventing shenanigans.)
  • Voice ordering: Uber Eats will integrate with Google Assistant, so you can say something like, “Hey Google, order me panang curry from Jitlada Thai Cuisine.” It’s available this summer in English around the world with more languages to come, the company said.
  • Travel planning: If you link your Uber and Gmail accounts, Uber will provide recommendations for ride reservations right alongside your flight, hotel or restaurant reservations, it says.
  • Charter buses: Starting this summer, you can rent those big party buses people use for bachelor parties and proms, as well as passenger vans and coach buses. Open the Uber app and tap “charter” to see when it’s available where you live.
  • Sporting events: If you want food at the stadium but don’t want to stand in line, you can use Uber Eats or Postmates (which Uber owns) to order food from concessions. When it’s ready, you get an alert and can go grab your items without the wait. It’s available at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles, Angel Stadium in Anaheim, Calif., Yankee Stadium in New York, Capital One Arena in Washington, D.C., Minute Maid Park in Houston, PayPal Park in San Jose and Roazhon Park in France with “more to come.”
  • Uber Comfort Electric: Uber’s premium “comfort” option now comes with a special designation if you prefer an electric vehicle such as a Tesla or Polestar. It’s available in Los Angeles, San Francisco and San Diego in the United States, the company says, with more locations to come.
  • Autonomous delivery: If you’d prefer your food be delivered by a robotic rolling shopping cart with eyeballs instead of a human, today’s your lucky day. Uber is testing these gadgets from maker Serve Robotics in Los Angeles, it says, as well as autonomous delivery with an all-electric vehicle fleet from car company Motional. Keep in mind, though: autonomous anything is easier said than done. Both Uber and Lyft have talked a big game about autonomous vehicles before and have yet to deliver.
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Indian shares subdued as investors weigh oil prices, global events

Indian shares subdued as investors weigh oil prices, global events

Clouds are seen over the Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE) building in Mumbai, India May 25, 2016. REUTERS/Danish Siddiqui

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BENGALURU, March 23 (Reuters) – Indian shares were little changed on Wednesday as cautious investors kept an eye on crude prices and geopolitical events in the absence of any major domestic triggers.

By 0504 GMT, the blue-chip NSE Nifty 50 index (.NSEI) was up 0.11% at 17,334.45, while the benchmark S&P BSE Sensex (.BSESN) had gained 0.10% to 58,046.43.

After falling nearly 1% on Monday and extending those losses into the first half of Tuesday — due to higher oil prices — both the indexes staged a mid-day reversal to end more than 1% higher as investors bought into the dip.

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While the Nifty and Sensex built on the upbeat momentum in early trading on Wednesday, markets have now given up most gains.

“Markets are not going to be that bullish today and there could be some kind of consolidation,” said Devarsh Vakil, deputy head of retail research at HDFC Securities.

“As such, we have risen a lot from (recent) lows. So, it is better to digest these gains,” he added.

Earlier this month, the indexes hit their lowest levels since late-July, but they have since risen about 11% each.

In Mumbai, gains in pharmaceutical and metal stocks offset losses in automobile companies.

The Nifty Pharma Index (.NIPHARM) was up 1.27%, with pharma major Dr Reddy’s Laboratories (REDY.NS) rising 3% and topping the Nifty 50 percentage gainers.

The Nifty Metal Index (.NIFTYMET) rose 0.49%, with aluminium and copper producer Hindalco Industries (HALC.NS) adding 2.3%. Global commodity prices remained high on potential supply hits due to the Ukraine conflict.

The Nifty Auto Index (.NIFTYAUTO) dropped 0.56% and was on track for its second session of losses in three.

Meanwhile, broader Asian markets hit their highest levels since March 4 as investors moved cash back into equities from bonds in preparation for the U.S. Federal Reserve’s aggressive approach to combat inflation.

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Reporting by Anuron Kumar Mitra in Bengaluru; editing by Uttaresh.V

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Gap says earnings set for strong 2022 as social events return

Gap says earnings set for strong 2022 as social events return

People walk past a Gap store on Oxford Street in London, Britain, July 1, 2021. REUTERS/John Sibley

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March 3 (Reuters) – Gap Inc (GPS.N) on Thursday forecast 2022 earnings above estimates, betting on strong demand for its Old Navy and Athleta clothing brands as Americans return to offices and social events thanks to declining Omicron cases.

Shares of the apparel retailer jumped 7.2% to $15.67 in extended trading, as it also posted a smaller-than-expected loss for the fourth quarter.

Many apparel chains have struggled to keep up with rising demand though, as port congestion and tight capacity delay shipments.

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Gap has had to use pricier air freight to bring in goods, and said its inventory at the end of the first quarter would rise in the mid-20s percentage range as it orders early to counter longer in-transit times.

“(Customers are) leaning into categories like dresses or new silhouettes and pants for back-to-work … as well as denim with new leg shapes. It’s a pretty radical change from last year,” Chief Executive Sonia Syngal said on an earnings call.

Gap forecast fiscal 2022 adjusted earnings per share between $1.85 and $2.05, above Refinitiv IBES estimates of $1.86.

It also expects to benefit from tie-ups with Walmart (WMT.N) to sell home goods and with rapper Kanye West to launch new styles.

The strong outlook contrasts those from rivals Abercrombie & Fitch (ANF.N) and American Eagle Outfitters (AEO.N), which have warned of freight expenses pressuring their margins in the first half of 2022.

In the near term, Gap is not immune to the industry-wide supply snags either.

The Banana Republic parent, whose comparable sales growth in the quarter ended Jan. 29 missed estimates, indicated that sales pressure had continued into the current quarter.

It projected net sales to fall in the mid- to high-single-digit percentage range, compared with estimates for a 3.8% decline.

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Reporting by Praveen Paramasivam and Uday Sampath in Bengaluru; Editing by Devika Syamnath

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