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NEWS: Fast Food Giant McDonald’s is bringing back HI-C Orange Soda After 4 YEARS

After 4 years, McDonald’s is finally bringing back HI-C Orange according to People starting February 15th. Odd that it took so long. I shared the original reaction in 2017 when it was taken away and honestly had long thought it would never return.

According to the fast food giant, your “tweets, DMs and petitions asking for its return gave our social media community manager a LOT of content to choose from for an important menu team meeting this morning…and thanks to you, Hi-C Orange Lavaburst will return to McDonald’s menus this year as a regular soft drink option, available nationwide by this summer.”

Twitter reacted with approval:

You can find it near you with this HI-C Orange Tracker”: mcdfinder.com

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Superspreader Super Bowl Weekend: Videos Show Crowds and Concerts Across Tampa

Super Bowl LV was this past weekend and in the end Tampa Bay won the championship. It wasn’t all that was happening in town though, the Super Bowl brought celebrities and parties across the bay that have created fears of a superspreader event in Tampa.

Recent reports of the COVID-19 UK variant being found prevalent in Florida are concerning healthcare officials and the Biden Administration is threatening travel restrictions on the state.

CBS 12 reports: “Florida is leading the way in terms of one of the fastest rates of B117,” said Dr. Eric Feigl-Ding, an epidemiologist with the Federation of American Scientists. “The natural contagiousness of the B117 means that it will infect a lot of people.”

Nearly half a million or 500,000 Americans have died during the Coronavirus pandemic and over 26,000 Floridians. Throughout the course of the pandemic, Florida has been under the national microscopic from spring breakers telling people they don’t care about the pandemic to Governor DeSantis constantly fighting restrictions and acting like nothing is wrong.

The City of Tampa promised that there would be an effort to stop people from not wearing masks, but not one person was cited during the busy weekend according to Creative Loafing. Local police clearly said before that there would be “education” and not “enforcement” though.

There is evidence that travelers have curbed travel to Florida throughout the pandemic and the impact on businesses has been quite deep although it has been increasing in recent months. The emergence of the UK Variant in the state could be an emergency for local businesses if it leads to travel restrictions due to government mismanagement of the virus.

Here is a collection of videos from the weekend:

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Do This: Order produce from local farmers this Thanksgiving in SF

This Thanksgiving consider ordering a fresh produce-packed Bounty Box from Clement Street Farmer’s Market and help support local farmers who have lost their restaurant accounts due to COVID-19 restaurant closures.

Orders must be placed by this Tuesday, November 17th for convenient pick-up on Sunday, November 22nd at the Clement Street market. The cost is $30 per box. Limit of 2 per customer.

CalFresh/EBT participants can use their funds to purchase a Bounty Box at a 50% discount, $15.00 per box.

Bounty Box sales have brought over $215,000 directly back to the farmers’ pockets.  Since April 2020, AIM (Agricultural Institute of Marin) has curated nearly 10,000 Bounty Boxes.

The Bounty Box is available weekly on-demand (no subscription necessary) and is filled with fresh, nutritious and seasonal produce Bounty Box items are sourced directly from the farmers who participate at AIM’s Clement Street/SF, Marin Civic Center, and Grand Lake Oakland farmers markets.

Find more information at bounty-box.org.

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Krispy Kreme launches caramel glaze flavor

Krispy Kreme’s new Caramel Glazed Doughnut and Salted Double Caramel Crunch Doughnut are available starting Monday, November 9th for a limited-time at participating shops across the U.S.

What’s new?

  • Caramel Glazed Doughnut: the classic Original Glazed® Doughnut covered in rich caramel glaze. ​
  • Salted Double Caramel Crunch Doughnut: the Caramel Glazed Doughnut dipped in rich caramel icing, and sprinkled with salted crunch topping.

“There are a lot of caramel lovers out there and if you’re one of them, this doughnut is going to blow your mind,” said Dave Skena, Chief Marketing Officer of Krispy Kreme. “It’s incredibly delicious and you’re going to need to take a moment for yourself and just be one with caramel awesomeness. It’s been a year, to say the least. You’ve earned it.”

Share your caramel glaze moment with Krispy Kreme’s Caramel Glazed Doughnuts by using #KrispyKreme and tagging @krispykreme. For more information about the new Krispy Kreme Caramel Glazed Doughnuts, please visit www.krispykreme.com/promos/caramelglaze.

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NEWS: Metropolitan Ministries says need for holiday assistance soars way beyond projections

Metropolitan Ministries was expecting a big challenge and preparing to serve as many as 40,000 families this holiday season due to hardships caused by the coronavirus pandemic. The need is even worse than anticipated, and the nonprofit now expects those numbers could climb to 50,000 families in need of aid. 

With CDC recommended precautions in place, Metropolitan Ministries opened its first-ever online registration process on October 28. Flooded with requests for help, the host server crashed in the first few hours and continues to be inundated. A more robust system had to be implemented to handle the volume.  

To meet the need, Metro has turned itself inside out and expanded its reach to six counties through 65 distribution partner locations in Hillsborough, Pinellas, Pasco, Polk, and new this year, Manatee and Hernando counties. Nearly half, 23,000 households, will be served through the partner sites and 1,200 homebound individuals will receive deliveries. 

The demand for nonperishable food is a real concern amid the pandemic. Food collection drives are down by 50% versus 2019, and the ability for the Ministries to make bulk purchases is more limited. 

The only way that Metropolitan Ministries can meet the need is with the support of the Tampa Bay community. Food donations can be dropped off at the main holiday tent in Tampa or at various partner locations.  

Most needed items: canned yams, stuffing, cranberry sauce, boxed potatoes.

Metropolitan Ministries accepting donations via Amazon and other retailers shipped directly to the holiday tent at 2609 N. Rome Ave., Tampa, FL 33607. 

For information about locations and how to help go to metromin.org/holidaycentral   

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Statement: Small Businesses Aghast at Trump stopping COVID Relief Negotiations

Today President Trump announced an end to the stimulus talks with no hope before Election Day. Main Street Alliance Executive Director, Amanda Ballantyne shares this:

“For Trump to stop negotiations on urgently needed relief, stating he will only resume negotiations after he “wins” the election shows callous disregard for millions of Americans suffering extreme financial hardship. The President appears willing to take the economy down with him if he fails, at this point.

Small business owners across the country are aghast at the short sightedness of this refusal to move an aid package. The failed leadership of the Trump Administration to control the pandemic and keep the economy on track will drive many small business owners to close and lead to prolonged economic hardship for working families in this country. Main Street Alliance members and small businesses across the country have been clamoring for months that additional support is necessary to avert a prolonged, protracted, costly and livelihood destroying economic crisis.

Small businesses have waited far too long for needed relief, and the consequences of delay have meant hundreds of thousands of closures impacting the labor market and economy. This is no time for political brinksmanship. Senate Republicans must come to the table and take action.”

Main Street Alliance is a national network of small business coalitions working to build a new voice for small businesses on important public policy issues.

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NEWS: Celebrate Super Mario’s 35th Anniversary with Cold Stone

Cold Stone Creamery is partnering with Nintendo for Super Mario’s 35th Anniversary. Nintendo fans can enjoy their favorite Cold Stone treat in a special edition Gotta Have It® ice cream cup featuring their favorite character, Mario, during the promotion. The Mario-inspired Creation, Shake, Ice Cream Cake, and special edition cups are available at all participating Cold Stone Creamery locations and online ordering until December 15.

“We are thrilled to join together with Nintendo once again to commemorate the Super Mario Bros. 35th anniversary with our super-premium ice cream,” said Sara Schmillen, vice president of marketing for Kahala Brands™, parent company of Cold Stone Creamery.

“Cold Stone and Nintendo both focus on bringing families together; so gather your loved ones, grab some ice cream, pick up your Nintendo Switch system and let’s start making memories that last a lifetime!”

  • Mario’s Super Birthday Blast Creation features Cake Batter Ice Cream® with Yellow Cake, Bright Blue Frosting and Star Sprinkles
  • Mario’s Super Star Shake features Cake Batter Ice Cream and Bright Blue Frosting with Whipped Topping and Star Sprinkles
  • Rainbow Road Rally features layers of moist Yellow Cake and Cake Batter Ice Cream with Star Sprinkles wrapped in fluffy Bright Blue Frosting

Cold Stone® will feature four Mario-inspired Gotta Have It cup designs. These collectible cups feature Mario through the years and are available in red, blue, green, and yellow, while supplies last.

“To commemorate the 35th anniversary of Super Mario Bros., we are excited to continue our collaboration with Cold Stone,” said Nick Chavez, Nintendo of America’s senior vice president of sales and marketing.

“From fun ice levels to delicious ice cream, Nintendo and Cold Stone are offering cool treats this year for people of all ages.”

Cold Stone Creamery is also offering a multi-faceted sweepstakes (Nintendo is not a sponsor, co-sponsor or administrator of this sweepstakes) for fans. 5 customers, who enter the sweepstakes, will be awarded a grand prize package that includes one (1) $50 Cold Stone Creamery gift card and one (1) Nintendo Switch Prize Pack that includes one (1) Nintendo Switch system and twelve (12) download codes for digital Nintendo Switch games.

The fun will continue for even more fans as one-hundred (100) first prize winners will be awarded a first prize package that consists of one (1) $25 Cold Stone Creamery gift card and one (1) Nintendo Switch Prize Pack that includes one (1) Nintendo Switch system and five (5) download codes for digital Nintendo Switch games.

My Cold Stone Club Rewards® members will also receive My Nintendo Platinum Points* throughout the promotion.

For more information about the Super Mario Bros. 35th anniversary, visit supermario35.com.

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NEWS: Armature Works to launch “The Drive-In at Armature Works” with Rooftop Cinema Club

Armature Works, Tampa’s largest food hall and event space, is joining forces with Rooftop Cinema Club to launch “The Drive-In at Armature Works”, a contact-free drive-in event in Tampa Heights District.

Audiences can enjoy a mix of modern and classic films every day of the week, two showings per night, including a full week of Halloween and Horror favorites. 

Family-friendly screenings will take place at 7:30PM followed by a second screening for the night-owls at 10PM.

Tickets will start at $22 per vehicle, regardless of occupancy. Parking will be assigned on a first-come, first-served basis depending on ticket type, and audio can be picked up through local FM stereo.

Guests can order concessions or food and drinks online from their vehicles and will be notified for pick up.

Tickets and programming will be released this coming week. Locals are encouraged to sign up to Rooftop Cinema Club’s email database via rooftopcinemaclub.com/armature to be the first to know when tickets and programming are released, and to receive 10% off their first purchase. One lucky subscriber will also win unlimited drive-in movie tickets for the first two weeks of screenings. 

For more information visit Rooftop Cinema Club at rooftopcinemaclub.com.

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NEWS: PSL is back at Starbucks along with other fall favorites

PSL season continues with Pumpkin Spice Lattes now at Starbucks locations nationwide and as well as in Canada. This is the 17th year that the drink will be featured at Starbucks locations.

The pumpkin spice industry is worth over $500 million according to the Forbes. This is the earliest that the coffee industry has moved to begin the fall season.

Pumpkin spice is back at Starbucks.

Pumpkin Spice Lattes feature real pumpkin sauce, signature espresso and steamed milk with the celebrated flavor combination of pumpkin, cinnamon, nutmeg and clove. Available hot, iced or blended.

Pumpkin Spice Cold Brew

Pumpkin Cream Cold Brew returns to the menu, crafted with Starbucks® Cold Brew sweetened with vanilla syrup, topped with a pumpkin cream cold foam and a dusting of pumpkin spice topping. 

Pumpkin Cream Cheese Muffin, Pumpkin Scone, and Pumpkin Bread at Starbucks

Fall bakery items are also on menus nationwide with the pumpkin trio: Pumpkin Cream Cheese MuffinPumpkin Scone, and Pumpkin Bread. 

There is also a number of pumpkin spice-flavored ground, packaged, and ready-to-drink products now available and NEW Starbucks® Maple Pecan Flavored K-Cup® Packs + Ground Coffee and Starbucks® Salted Caramel Mocha Flavored Creamer.

Hopefully this brings this cheer to people. Happy PSL!

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Hershey’s, Jet-Puffed and Honey Maid Brands join forces to give $50,000 to local restaurants

Three popular food brands are joining forces this summer to give $10,000 to five local restaurants in celebration of National S’mores Day: Hershey’s, Jet-Puffed, and Honey Maid.

The trio is calling on small, hometown restaurants and their staff to showcase their favorite S’mores dessert on their menu (new or existing) for a chance to win one of five $10,000 prizes. Restaurants have until Monday, August 24th to enter.

“We are overwhelmed by the love people have had for S’mores this summer. During the current pandemic, many families have turned to the connectivity and comfort of making S’mores as a way to get through this challenging time,” said Bill Maclean, senior marketing director, Hershey’s brand.

Photo Credit: Hershey’s

“We wanted to say thank you and bring attention to all of those local restaurants who have been affected. We want to provide some relief while celebrating these restaurants, their recipes and their love of S’mores.”

The rules to enter for businesses are:

  1. Post a picture or short video to Instagram or Twitter showcasing your most creative S’mores recipe. The treat MUST at least be made with Hershey’s Milk Chocolate, Jet-Puffed Marshmallows and Honey Maid Graham Crackers or Graham Cracker Crumbs – the classic S’mores ingredients!
  2. Make sure to tag @hersheys @kraftjetpuffed @honeymaidsnacks and use the hashtag #SmoresGivesBackContest. For the caption of the posted photo or video, tell why your restaurant deserves to win a prize, and how the prize would be used to impact the restaurant and its employees.
  3. No Purchase is Necessary to enter. For full details of eligibility and entry, including judging criteria, see the Official Rules. Contest ends 11:59:59 PM EDT on August 24, 2020. Void where prohibited. Must be age of majority or older to enter. Entries submitted on behalf of restaurants.

Find more information at smoresgivesback.com.