• Gift Returns: Everything You Need to Know

    Published: Sun, Dec 27, 2015

    Some presents can easily be exchanged for something more to your taste than the Snuggie, cheap cologne or ugly sweater you receive in a holiday gift exchange, even if you don’t have a receipt. There are still options to exchange gifts at the store, although a receipt makes the gift-return process easier. And a warning: Don’t open the packaging for any music, movies, video games or computer software if you plan to return it. Once it’s out of the packaging, the best you can hope for is an exchange for a similar item in the store. Return policies vary widely among national retailers, from practically no limits at Nordstrom and Kohl’s, to stringent rules on DVDs and computer software at Best Buy, Toys R’ Us and other businesses.

  • Federal judge throws out jury's verdict in Tulsa restaurant labor case

    BY CURTIS KILLMAN, Tulsa World | Published: Tue, Dec 22, 2015

    A federal judge on Tuesday overturned a jury verdict that had cleared a Mexican restaurant and its owner on accusations of intentionally violating the Fair Labor Standards Act. U.S. District Judge John Dowdell, in tossing the verdict, determined that El Tequila LLC and its owner, Carlos Aguirre, willfully violated federal law dealing with employee overtime pay and minimum-wage requirements. The defense had argued that no willful violations occurred. The jury verdict, which followed a five-day trial in Tulsa federal court, prompted the U.S. Department of Labor to request that the judge presiding over the lawsuit set aside the verdict and rule for the government.

  • America's Biggest Shopping Mall Just Filed a Restraining Order Against Black Lives Matter

    Published: Tue, Dec 22, 2015

    Minnesota emerged in 2015 as one of America's biggest hotbeds for political activism. One year ago, Minneapolis' Mall of America was the site of a massive Christmas Day protest by Black Lives Matter activists. Just last month, hundreds of protesters shut down a major freeway and occupied a local police station for days after police shot and killed Jamar Clark, an unarmed 24-year-old black man. After a targeted shooting threatened some of those protesters, they announced their next stop would be Minneapolis' Mall of America on Dec. 23. But then, the mall sought a temporary restraining order against them.

  • The first website went online 25 years ago today

    Published: Mon, Dec 21, 2015

    If the web were a person, it wouldn't have trouble renting a car from now on: the world's first website, Tim Berners-Lee's World Wide Web, went online 25 years ago today. The inaugural page wasn't truly public when it went live at CERN on December 20th, 1990 (that wouldn't happen until August 1991), and it wasn't much more than an explanation of how the hypertext-based project worked. However, it's safe to say that this plain page laid the groundwork for much of the internet as you know it -- even now, you probably know one or two people who still think the web is the internet. Where are the creators in 2015? Berners-Lee is still as tightly involved with web as he ever was, directing the World Wide Web Consortium he helped create. In fact, he's pushing hard to protect the open web against both government censorship and telecoms' attempts to crush net neutrality. CERN's role, however, has changed somewhat. While it's still embroiled in networking research (specifically grid computing), it's more often known for smashing particles.

  • Anonymous donor pays off layaway items for 114 at south Tulsa Wal-Mart

    BY CURTIS KILLMAN, Tulsa World | Published: Thu, Dec 17, 2015

    Tonya Ramsey teared up a little when someone asked her how Christmas was shaping up before she got the call. Ramsey of Tulsa had put some presents on layaway at a local Wal-Mart but was having trouble paying for them. “I was going to put back money, put back money and bills kept coming, kept coming, kept coming ... I didn’t think I was going to be able to do it,” Ramsey said.

  • Pharma CEO Martin Shkreli Arrested on Charges of Securities Fraud

    Published: Thu, Dec 17, 2015

    A boyish drug company entrepreneur, who rocketed to infamy by jacking up the price of a life-saving pill from $13.50 to $750, was arrested by federal agents at his Manhattan home early Thursday morning on securities fraud related to a firm he founded. Martin Shkreli, 32, ignited a firestorm over drug prices in September and became a symbol of defiant greed. The federal case against him has nothing to do with pharmaceutical costs, however. Prosecutors in Brooklyn charged him with illegally taking stock from Retrophin Inc., a biotechnology firm he started in 2011, and using it to pay off debts from unrelated business dealings. He was later ousted from the company, where he’d been chief executive officer, and sued by its board. In the case that closely tracks that suit, federal prosecutors accused Shkreli of engaging in a complicated shell game after his defunct hedge fund, MSMB Capital Management, lost millions. He is alleged to have made secret payoffs and set up sham consulting arrangements. A New York lawyer, Evan Greebel, was also arrested early Thursday. He's accused of conspiring with Shkreli in part of the scheme.

  • Congress Slips CISA Into a Budget Bill That’s Sure to Pass

    Published: Thu, Dec 17, 2015

    PRIVACY ADVOCATES WERE aghast in October when the Senate passed the Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act by a vote of 74 to 21, leaving intact portions of the law they say make it more amenable to surveillance than actual security. Now, as CISA gets closer to the President’s desk, those privacy critics argue that Congress has quietly stripped out even more of its remaining privacy protections. In a late-night session of Congress, House Speaker Paul Ryan announced a new version of the “omnibus” bill, a massive piece of legislation that deals with much of the federal government’s funding. It now includes a version of CISA as well. Lumping CISA in with the omnibus bill further reduces any chance for debate over its surveillance-friendly provisions, or a White House veto. And the latest version actually chips away even further at the remaining personal information protections that privacy advocates had fought for in the version of the bill that passed the Senate.

  • REI store in Tulsa may hinge on community support

    BY JARREL WADE, Tulsa World | Published: Tue, Dec 15, 2015

    The development along the Arkansas River targeting Oklahoma’s first REI sporting-goods store may hinge on community support in an issue that is giving city officials flashbacks to previously stalled developments. Recent opposition to the agreement to sell land on the southwest corner of 71st Street and Riverside Drive for development now has the targeted anchor tenant, Recreational Equipment Inc., asking for a resolution. “REI has not signed a lease in Tulsa and will not do so until the city has resolved its discussion of the development with the community,” according to a statement from Bethany Hawley, manager of REI communications and public affairs.

  • Company sold Tulsa campus for $23 million, records show

    BY ROBERT EVATT, Tulsa World | Published: Tue, Dec 15, 2015

    Hilti sold its former Tulsa campus to children's book publisher Educational Development Corporation for $23 million, according to Tulsa County land records. The sale was announced earlier this month, along with Hilti's intention to lease back 180,000 square feet of the 401,000-square-foot campus. Though the move came just months after the Lichtenstein-based tool-maker moved its U.S. headquarters and 250 jobs to Plano, Hilti remains committed to Tulsa, said Hilti spokesperson Leah Kelso.

  • Is college worth it? Goldman Sachs says maybe not

    Published: Mon, Dec 14, 2015

    A college degree is getting so expensive that it might not be worth the money anymore. At least that's what Goldman Sachs (GS) thinks. Many students are better off not going to mediocre colleges -- ones that rank in the bottom 25% of all universities -- Goldman says in a new report. They earn less, on average, than high school graduates.

  • It's Not Just the Poor Who Can't Make Rent

    Published: Mon, Dec 14, 2015

    It's not just low-income Americans who struggle to pay their rent every month, or find an affordable place to live when they move. New research from Harvard says that even renters with annual incomes of $45,000 face unaffordable rents in many cities, with potentially far-reaching effects. "It's moving up the income ladder," said Chris Herbert, Managing Director of the Joint Center For Housing Studies at Harvard. The group found that roughly half of families who earn between $30,000 and just under $45,000 a year and rent spend more than 30 percent of what they make on rent. The financial situation of these renters isn't as dire than their low-income counterparts: Last year, more than four out of five renters earning less than $15,000 spent more than 30 percent of their income on rent, and nearly three quarters spent half their income on rent.

  • Texas City plumber files lawsuit after ISIS was seen using his old truck

    Published: Mon, Dec 14, 2015

    Nearly a year ago, a Texas City plumber's old 2005 Ford F-250 was seen in the hands of Islamic extremists in Syria - with the business decal and business phone number clearly visible. Last week, owner of Mark-1 Plumbing Mark Oberholtzer filed a lawsuit. A Twitter photo was shared throughout social media of the business owner's truck and was even featured on the Colbert Report's final broadcasting, where nearly 2.5 million viewers tuned in.

  • Will Amazon Hoverboard Crackdown Be a Boon to eBay?

    Published: Sun, Dec 13, 2015

    As hoverboards go from popular to pariah, Amazon is cracking down and Overstock is banning them outright, but there's no sign that eBay has taken any action. Sellers say Amazon put restrictions on the accounts of merchants selling hoverboards on December 11th, requiring them to provide it with certain documentation while it holds their accounts in review. And BestReviews noted on December 12th that the five models of hoverboards it had reviewed were no longer available on Amazon's site. eBay has not issued a statement regarding hoverboards. eBay CEO Devin Wenig told Wall Street analysts in November that hoverboards were a hot-selling item, and as Fortune noted, eBay reported having sold nearly 7,500 hoverboards on Cyber Monday - one every 12 seconds.

  • Houston company gives every employee $100k bonus

    Published: Fri, Dec 11, 2015

    HOUSTON (FOX 26) - This holiday season a Houston-based company is rewarding its workers with a major bonus. Hilcorp has 1,381 employees total, and all of them were given a one-hundred thousand dollar bonus to top off an excellent year. Hilcorp is one of the largest privately-held oil and natural gas exploration and production companies in the United States and was also named to the 2015 FORTUNE 100 Best Companies to Work For list. That makes it their third year in a row on that list.

  • Housing's new crisis: Half your income for rent

    Published: Thu, Dec 10, 2015

    There are now 9 million more renters than there were just a decade ago, the biggest jump in renters on record, and they are paying more for rent than ever before. Of the nation's now 43 million families and individuals who rent, 1 in 5 are considered "cost-burdened," or paying more than 30 percent of their incomes on rent, according to a new study by the Harvard Joint Center for Housing Studies. Others pay half their incomes. "The crisis in the number of renters paying excessive amounts of their income for housing continues, because the market has been unable to meet the need for housing that is within the financial reach of many families and individuals with lower incomes. These affordability challenges also are increasingly afflicting moderate-income households," said Chris Herbert, managing director of the center.

  • Marijuana has huge influence on Colorado tourism, state survey says

    Published: Thu, Dec 10, 2015

    Marijuana businesses have long proclaimed that cannabis is drawing visitors to Colorado. Now they have proof. A study commissioned by the Colorado Tourism Office and presented to the office's board of directors on Wednesday shows legal weed as a growing motivator for trips to Colorado — conflicting with the mantra of tourism officials statewide that savvy marketing alone is responsible for record visitation and spending in the past two years. While the state's "Come to Life" ad campaign is certainly successful, surveys in October and November of potential summertime visitors who were exposed to the state's tourism ads revealed that the marijuana laws influenced vacation decisions nearly 49 percent of the time.

  • Walmart’s Imports From China Displaced 400,000 Jobs, a Study Says

    Published: Wed, Dec 9, 2015

    Imports from China by Walmart, the nation’s largest retailer and biggest importer, eliminated or displaced over 400,000 jobs in the United States between 2001 and 2013, according to an estimate by the Economic Policy Institute, a progressive research group that has long targeted Walmart’s policies. The jobs, mostly in manufacturing, represent about 13 percent of the 3.2 million jobs displaced over those same years that the study attributes to the United States’ goods trade deficit with China. Walmart’s Chinese imports amounted to at least $49 billion in 2013, according to the study, which was based on trade and labor data. Over all, the United States’ trade deficit with China hit $324 billion that year. “Walmart is one of the major forces pulling imports into the United States,” said Robert E. Scott, an economist at the institute and the study’s author. “And the jobs we’re losing are good-paying manufacturing jobs, which pay higher wages and provide better benefits.”

  • Apple unveils official 25-hour battery case for the iPhone 6 and 6S

    Published: Tue, Dec 8, 2015

    Apple's iPhones have long been a source of battery anxiety, with third-party battery cases easing these worries by offering extra juice when you need it. Now, Apple has unveiled its own Smart Battery Case for the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6S, quietly posting the product on its online stores (as spotted by Pocket Lint). The case costs $99 and Apple says it extends the iPhone's battery life to up to 18 hours of internet usage on LTE networks, up to 20 hours of video playback, and as much as 25 hours of increased talk time. Press photos show that the product slips onto the iPhone like a regular case, rather than separating into pieces and clipping around like some third-party solutions. It's available in two colors — charcoal and white — with a microfiber lining on the inside and silicone exterior. All in all, it looks pretty similar to Apple's current cases, although, of course, with that extra bump on the back and chin on the bottom.

  • Teen Who Worked In Corner Shop For 10 Weeks To Afford Christmas Presents Told He’s On Unpaid Internship

    Published: Tue, Dec 8, 2015

    A teenager who spent 10 weeks before and after school working in a shop to save up for Christmas has been told he won’t be getting paid. Jay El-Leboudy, 15, had been working mornings and evenings in his local Londis for over two months in a bid to save up for gifts for his family. However, when he came to collect his overdue wages he was told by the boss that he wouldn’t be getting them – as he was on unpaid work experience.

  • Are bananas about to go extinct?

    Published: Sun, Dec 6, 2015

    The world’s most popular fruit could go extinct. In the mid 1900s, the most popular banana in the world—a sweet, creamy variety called Gros Michel grown in Latin America—all but disappeared from the planet. At the time, it was the only banana in the world that could be exported. But a fungus, known as Panama Disease, which first appeared in Australia in the late 1800s, changed that after jumping continents. The disease debilitated the plants that bore the fruit. The damage was so great and swift that in a matter of only a few decades the Gros Michel nearly went extinct. Now, half a century later, a new strain of the disease is threatening the existence of the Cavendish, the banana that replaced the Gros Michel as the world's top banana export, representing 99 percent of the market, along with a number of banana varieties produced and eaten locally around the world.