HomeAdvisor Expands HomeAdvisor Pay After Surpassing Millions of Dollars Worth of Home Projects

DENVER, Oct. 14, 2020 /PRNewswire/ — HomeAdvisor, a leading digital marketplace and operating business of ANGI Homeservices (NASDAQ: ANGI), has expanded its digital payment tool HomeAdvisor Pay to allow HomeAdvisor’s service pros to reach all homeowner customers nationwide. Service pros can now request and receive payments from any customer including HomeAdvisor customers and customers not from HomeAdvisor. According to HomeAdvisor’s  2019 State of Home Spending Report, 60 percent of consumers still pay for their home service projects via traditional high-contact methods like cash or check. HomeAdvisor Pay is making an easy, economical way for more home service pros to accept credit card payments and make it easier for customers to pay for home services.

“We love HomeAdvisor Pay,” said Seth Rambo, owner of Ascape Landscaping in Scranton, PA. “It’s a seamless way for our customers to pay for their invoices, that is not only user friendly for our customers, but user friendly for us as well. We can create a payment request and send it to the customer within a few clicks.”

Since its initial rollout in April 2020 amid the beginning of the pandemic, HomeAdvisor Pay has facilitated millions of dollars of total payments, processing on average $100,000 each day. The feature delivers both pros and homeowners a contactless, payment method that removes the friction associated with traditional payment options that often require frequent trips to the bank, handwritten checks, delayed invoicing and steep additional fees for small businesses.

“Right now, we are seeing people across the United States spend more time at home and take on home projects. For our pros, it’s important they are able to offer all of their customers the frustration-free, contactless option to pay for services through HomeAdvisor Pay,” said Brandon Ridenour, Chief Executive Officer, ANGI Homeservices. “We’re excited to expand our digital payment offering as we know that pros on HomeAdvisor look to us to deliver solutions that make their businesses run more efficiently and homeowners rely on us for friction free service.”

A recent survey from ANGI Homeservices, found that 92% of homeowners who typically hire home service pros plan to hire a pro this year and people are turning towards digital payment tools for home services, likely accelerated by homeowner preferences due COVID-19 pandemic and the growing number of Millennial homeowners who expect digital solutions. HomeAdvisor Pay removes all need for high-contact payments and allows for contact-free transactions. 

“HomeAdvisor is able to pass along technology, availability and fast business opportunities.,” said Sharon Hoekstra, owner of Ezekare, an exterior improvement and lawn company, based in Manchester, CT.  “I absolutely love HomeAdvisor Pay. We had been searching for credit card companies to use, but the rates were outrageous and many did not want to work with us. HomeAdvisor Pay is incredibly important for us.”

These new tools are available on the HomeAdvisor and HomeAdvisor pro app on Android and iOS. To learn more about the new features and HomeAdvisor, click here.

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Milwaukee bar Brothers expands, reopens with new menu, TVs, patio

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Brothers Bar and Grill is reopening at 1213 N. Water St. on Oct. 8. It is twice the size of its previous space and now has a full kitchen, 45 TVs, outdoor beer garden and more. (Photo: Jordyn Noennig)

Brothers Bar and Grill is new and improved, and ready to reopen in Milwaukee. 

The Water Street bar closed in November to prepare for an expansion that combined its previous space with the next-door space, the former Milwaukee Moulding & Frame building. 

After almost a year it is reopening an 8,000-square-foot space that includes ample seating, an arcade and dance floor. There are 45 TVs throughout the building for game watching and 40 draft lines for beers. A 2,000-square-foot beer garden is outside. 

“It’s unrecognizable from before,” said Marc Fortney, co-owner of Brothers, 1213 N. Water St. “We’re really bringing everything. It’s the new version of Brothers.”

The bar and restaurant chain is based in La Crosse and has 20 locations across the country. Fortney said Brothers started as a college bar, but its new locations have been larger and more family-friendly. 

“As we’ve gotten older, we’ve thought more about what we would want in a bar, and brought that to Brothers,” he said. “We’re available for family dining, and after 10 p.m. we’ll be 21 and older and focus on that crowd.” 

The Milwaukee Brothers is the first remodeled location in Wisconsin. 

“We don’t have this in La Crosse,” Fortney said. “We thought it was a great opportunity to do this in Milwaukee with the Fiserv Forum right there. It’s really exciting for us to bring this here to Wisconsin. We’re just beaming.”

Features of the new Brothers include custom wood bars, one 40 feet long on the first floor and a second bar on the second floor. 

The dance floor has unique lighting and a dedicated DJ booth. Pool tables and dartboards are found throughout, as are murals. The second floor is available for renting out and overlooks the first floor. 

The beer garden has a retractable roof, heaters, televisions and sliding garage doors. Exposed Cream City brick is throughout the interior and exterior, and the outside of the building also got a remodel. 

“We really pulled out all the stops for this place,” Fortney said. 

The new full kitchen will serve lunch and dinner. Its menu includes burgers, wings,

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Power Up: A VP debate for the times: Pence and Harris face off as White House coronavirus outbreak expands

All this makes the stakes especially high for Vice President Pence, 61, and Sen. Kamala Harris, 55, who will face off tonight for the first time to defend the policies and records of their candidates. These are some key measures of success for both sides, according to sources close to both campaigns: 

Can Pence spin the White House coronavirus outbreak that infected at least 18 people in contact with Trump? 

Trump’s No. 2 – and head of the White House coronavirus task force – will almost certainly be forced to address the outbreak that’s ensnared the president, along with the administration’s handling of the pandemic that has killed nearly 210,000 people in the United States. “Pence’s challenge is to explain what happened in the last few days and defend it,a Trump campaign source told Power Up.

  • You wonder why [Trump’s] numbers with seniors are hurting? You have to show you care,” the source said. “There’s probably a way to get them back because they probably don’t want to vote for Biden but they want Trump to acknowledge that he gets it.”
  • Still, some questions could be nearly impossible for Pence to answer – namely, the potential exposure of Trump’s supporters: “I can basically defend anything about the White House and coronavirus except for them allowing Trump to go to Bedminster – I’m sorry but there is no good spin on that specific point,” the source added.
  • Trump mingled with more than 200 people at his New Jersey golf club last Thursday, hours before he tested positive – and after knowing he was exposed to the virus.

Will Pence – and the Trump team – take more safety precautions at the debate this time? 

Trump’s family was criticized for taking off their masks at least week’s presidential debate. Now that six of the eight members of Trump’s debate prep team have tested positive so far, including former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and campaign manager Bill Stepien, a public show of masks and distancing could go a long way to show the White House takes the virus seriously. 

  • Yet Pence’s team fought hard against the wall of plexiglass that will divide the candidates on the Salt Lake City debate stage – and traveled to the debate yesterday with his spokeswoman Katie Miller whose husband, top White House aide Stephen Miller, tested positive for coronavirus last night.

Making things more complicated: Questions about whether Pence himself is at risk are already taking center stage. Pence’s doctor released a statement that the vice president’s coronavirus PCR test came out negative yesterday afternoon and therefore is “encouraged to go about his normal activities and does not need to quarantine.” 

Pence’s clean up of Trump’s coronavirus messaging could be critical on the campaign trail: Trump’s advisers, staffers, and allies see the president’s response to his own diagnosis “as a missed opportunity,” our colleagues Ashley Parker and Josh Dawsey report. “Some had hoped that he would emerge from his hospital stay slightly

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House Oversight expands probe of pandemic ad blitz

DD&T is led by Den Tolmor, the longtime business partner of HHS spokesperson Michael Caputo, who conceived the campaign. Caputo is currently on medical leave and last month announced that he was seeking treatment for cancer.

“[T]he Administration may be improperly steering federal contracts to individuals with financial ties to senior political appointees,” Clyburn wrote in his letters, requesting documents by Oct. 15. The oversight subcommittee had previously opened a probe into a $250 million contract awarded as part of the ad campaign.

The House panel is seeking the contracts and related documents and all communications with Caputo, his personal scientific adviser Paul Alexander and Jeffrey Souder, who held multiple roles for Caputo’s private public relations firm.

Last month, senior House Oversight Democrats began probing the ad campaign, while calling for work to be halted while it’s under investigation.

An HHS spokesperson on Thursday said the contract was awarded “after a limited competition,” and that a technical evaluation panel of career federal officials reviewed the proposals. “Based on the review, the Technical Evaluation Panel recommended Atlas Research for the award,” the spokesperson wrote in an email.

DD&T and Atlas Research did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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Bees in for a treat as special garden in Kapiti Village expands

Bees living in two hives in a garden area of Kapiti Village in Paraparaumu are in for a treat this spring and summer.

A wild flower meadow has been sown in the eco-diversity garden and an orchard and 100 small native trees are under way.

The native trees were donated by Gus Evans Nursery, which has been involved in the village for many years, and Metlifecare sponsored the seven fruit trees.

Thriving garden allotments add to the diversity of the area too.

“It is an exciting opportunity and project to be involved in,” said Dane Jensen, from Bark Ltd, which also donated wild flowers and 100 plant guards.

“Since Bark took over the [village] grounds this has always been an area that has needed redevelopment.

“Now with kind donations and the eco initiative and Fay Chedzoy’s enthusiasm pushing it forward, we can turn the space into a beautiful and diverse environmental asset for both residents and wildlife while also teaching our apprentices about revegetation processes.”

More work is planned for the area which could include further plantings and irrigation.

The eco-diversity garden, named the birds and bees planting project, is part of a range of environmental projects at the village.

Other projects include a predator elimination project involving the tracking and trapping of rats, stoats and so on.

The Dell Gardeners group is going strong and, over a few years, has redeveloped what was a garden waste collection area into a planted, paved area, with potting shed.

The group has also extended into development of more native plantings into established woodlands and an area featuring daffodils is looking impressive.

And the 25th anniversary planting project has seen a rhododendron bank and specimen trees planted while more garden benches and picnic tables have been handmade in the village.

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Farm Rich Expands ‘Garden Inspirations’ Line With Restaurant-Style Zucchini, Cauliflower Snacks

According to the American Frozen Food Institute (AFFI), 7 in 10 frozen food shoppers have been buying more frozen items since the beginning of the pandemic, including frozen vegetables and snacks. And frozen food sales at U.S. retail stores increased by 38.2 percent in May.  

Introduced this past spring, Garden Inspirations is a new line of frozen, plant-based foods expanding options for flexitarians, vegetarians and anyone looking to reduce meat consumption in their daily diet and add more plant-based alternatives. This line includes appetizers, snacks and meal solutions made with plant-based meats and other wholesome plant-based ingredients.

In stores exclusively at Kroger (and online at Kroger.com and Instacart), the new Zucchini Sticks and Cauliflower Bites are a healthy and easy snack alternative, giving consumers more veggie options to include in their diets:

  • Breaded Cauliflower Bites: Whole cauliflower florets rolled in a wheat flour and crispy rice coating, with a quarter cup of cauliflower per serving. Comes with a Sweet Sesame Dipping Sauce. A great meatless alternative for snacking and meals.
  • Breaded Zucchini Sticks: Tender zucchini slices breaded in a savory coating. Comes with tangy marinara sauce for dipping. An easy way to eat more vegetables as a snack, appetizer or side to any meal.

These new items are priced around $7.99 and can be found in Kroger’s Frozen Vegetable section in the freezer aisle and on Instacart.

“The response to our first Garden Inspirations products [Meatless Meatballs, Plant-Based BBQ Sliders] was so positive, and we’re excited to expand the line with these new vegetable products,” said Ciera Womack, Farm Rich Senior Marketing Manager. “No matter what diet you follow – vegetarian, flexitarian or, as we like to say, ‘snackitarian’ – this innovative new line gives shoppers more plant-based options to enjoy at ease from the comfort of home.”

In April, Farm Rich introduced its first Garden Inspirations products at Kroger: Meatless Meatballs and Plant-Based BBQ Sliders. For more details and nutrition information, visit FarmRich.com.

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House Intel Expands DHS Probe After Whistleblower Allegations About Disinfo, ‘Antifa’

The House Intelligence Committee is expanding an existing investigation into the Department of Homeland Security to address a whistleblower’s allegations that top officials politicized intelligence to aid President Donald Trump.

The whistleblower complaint, written by the department’s former top intelligence official, alleges that Trump administration higher-ups pressured him and others to distort intelligence products on Russia, white supremacists and “antifa” in order to reflect Trump’s priorities. The White House and DHS have denied the allegations made in the complaint.

“Based on information that has recently come to light, the Committee’s investigation must now encompass and review a wider range of reported abuses, deficiencies, and problems, including allegations of improper politicization of intelligence and political interference in [the Office of Intelligence and Analysis’] mission and activities,” House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff (D-CA) wrote in a letter to Joseph B. Maher, the DHS official now performing the former job of the demoted whistleblower.

The whistleblower, Brian Murphy, alleges he was demoted from his position as acting undersecretary for Intelligence and Analysis for refusing to go along with department higher ups — including Acting Secretary Chad Wolf and his top deputy, Ken Cuccinelli — who Murphy said sought to manipulate intelligence analyses.

Notably, the committee was already investigating the Office of Intelligence and Analysis. That investigation began after news broke last month that, among other things, the office had collected information on journalists who were reporting on the federal presence in Portland.

Murphy was overseeing the Office of Intelligence and Analysis at the time, and his whistleblower complaint addresses that scandal, calling press reporting on it “significantly flawed.” The complaint asserts that “DHS I&A never knowingly or deliberately collected information on journalists, at least as far as Mr. Murphy is aware or ever authorized.”

Murphy’s complaint alleges that, though Wolf “knew” there was no merit to the press about the scandal, “the removal and reassignment of Mr. Murphy would be politically good for Mr. Wolf, who wanted to be officially nominated as the DHS Secretary.”

Schiff’s letter Friday significantly expands the scope of the committee’s investigatory work.

For one thing, Murphy’s allegations go back to 2018, when he alleges that then-DHS Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen and others misled Congress about the threat of known and suspected terrorists crossing the southern border. Murphy also alleged that Cuccinelli wanted to retaliate against DHS staff whose work on Central America he considered to be the product of “deep state intelligence analysts.”

What grabbed headlines, though, was Murphy’s claim that Wolf and Cuccinelli pressured him to alter an intelligence document to downplay the threat of white supremacist violence and emphasis “antifa.”

Separately, Murphy alleged, he was excluded from the drafting process of an intelligence notification on Russian disinformation efforts after Wolf told him the notification should be “held” because it “made the President look bad.”

In his letter to Maher, Schiff listed several DHS officials with whom the committee would request transcribed interviews. And he said he appreciated the department’s pledge to “cooperate with the Committee’s expanded

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House Intelligence Committee expands probe into DHS office

The House Intelligence Committee is expanding its investigation into alleged abuses and improper politicization at the Department of Homeland Security Office of Intelligence and Analysis (I&A), days after the committee released a whistleblower complaint filed by a senior DHS official who alleged that he was retaliated against for refusing to suppress reports on white supremacist organizations and Russia’s election interference efforts.

“Recent developments have obligated the Committee to expand the scope of its ongoing investigation,” Committee Chairman Adam Schiff wrote in a letter to Joseph Maher, the senior official performing the duties of the undersecretary for intelligence and analysis. The committee over the summer began an investigation into the actions of DHS officials in Portland, Oregon, amid ongoing protests.

“The Committee’s investigation must now encompass and review a wider range of reported abuses, deficiencies, and problems, including allegations of improper politicization of intelligence and political interference in I&A’s mission and activities,” Schiff continued. He referenced the complaint by Brian Murphy, the former undersecretary of intelligence and analysis.

The committee is requesting documents, as well as transcribed interviews with I&A officials. Murphy is expected to be deposed before the Intelligence Committee on September 21.

In his complaint, filed September 8, Murphy said that he was instructed by then-Acting DHS Secretary Chad Wolf to withhold an intelligence notification on Russian activities because it “made the president look bad.” 

Murphy objected, the complaint says, telling Wolf “it was improper to hold a vetted intelligence product for reasons for political embarrassment.” 

He claims he was later excluded by Wolf from meetings on the subject and that the draft was ultimately edited in a “misleading” way in order to “place the actions of Russia on par with those of Iran and China,” which, Murphy says, is “inconsistent with the actual intelligence data.”  

The draft with the revised analysis was then leaked to the media, according to the complaint, which also details other instances of misconduct and intelligence manipulation by senior Trump administration officials in the White House and DHS.

DHS confirmed earlier this month that it withheld publication of a July intelligence bulletin to law enforcement agencies warning that Russia may try to undermine Joe Biden’s candidacy by denigrating his mental and physical health, citing “quality concerns” about the report’s sourcing. A source familiar with the draft DHS report told CBS News that the memo was withheld it because it was poorly written and thinly sourced.

Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Marco Rubio and Ranking Member Mark Warner also announced Friday that they will investigate some of Murphy’s claims.

“These allegations, if true, raise serious concerns about a potential disregard for the objectivity and impartiality of intelligence analysis and the role of I&A in the Department,” Rubio and Warner said in a letter to Maher.

Murphy was reassigned in August amid reporting that his office compiled “intelligence reports” about journalists and protesters in Portland.

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Cleveland Kitchen expands nationally with Target, Kroger distribution

Progressive Field

Cleveland Kraut, located in the Right Field District, will have a variety of krauts for your dog, including the Gnar Gnar, Curry Kraut, Roasted Garlic Kraut (shown here), and Classic Caraway Kraut. Many new destinations and foods will be available at Progressive Field beginning on opening day Monday, April 1, 2019. David Petkiewicz, cleveland.comDavid Petkiewicz, cleveland.com

CLEVELAND, Ohio — Cleveland Kitchen said it’s expanding its distribution nationally and said it will have its products in Target, Wegman’s, Kroger, Albertsons, and Giant Eagle grocery stores.

The Cleveland company, which used to be known as Cleveland Kraut, said its products can now be found in 9,000 stores nationwide, as well as online.

The company, which used to sell gourmet sauerkraut, now sells a line of salad dressings and marinades.

Read the full story on cleveland.com’s sister site, Cleveland Business Journal.

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BelAir Cantina expands restaurant at The Corners of Brookfield

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BelAir Cantina, a local Mexican-fusion chain, opened its new 3,000-square-foot addition Friday in Brookfeld. 

The restaurant, located at The Corners of Brookfield, has added an 85-foot indoor/outdoor bar, and a private room that can be reserved for celebrations and banquets.

Expanded seating was brought to Market Square to reduce table wait times. The indoor seating limit is now 230, up from 160. The restaurant, 250 High St., also features new wall décor, including a mural and living garden.

“As construction wraps up on this significant expansion, we’re excited to be able to serve even more guests in a safe, socially distanced and enjoyable way,” said Robert Gould, CEO of Brookfield Corners.

The former restaurant space, meanwhile, is temporarily closing for additional renovations. The restaurant’s grand reopening is set for October.

BelAir Cantina was the first restaurant to open in 2017 at The Corners — a shopping and apartment complex at West Blue Mound and North Barker roads.

Eddie Morales can be reached at 414-223-5366 or [email protected] Follow him on Twitter at @emoralesnews.

Our subscribers make this reporting possible. Please consider supporting local journalism by subscribing to the Journal Sentinel at jsonline.com/deal.

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