When he lost his dad at the age of 13, Michael Rodriguez looked for ways to fill the void.
He turned to the neighborhood gang for support, and he had already begun experimenting with drugs a short time after. He was selling drugs just to get by.
“Once my dad died when I was 13, I wanted that love,” said Rodriguez, 25, of Stanton. “They all showed me love. I felt loved after my dad died, and I started hanging around with the wrong people, started using drugs, tried heroin after he died.
“I tried it a few times. I wasn’t addicted to it, but I liked the feeling. It kept me away from reality … about losing my dad.”
One thing led to another. By 14, Rodriguez was intermittently homeless. By 17, Rodriguez found a drug he had promised his dad he would never do in methamphetamine.
“I just cracked,” he recalled. “I tried it out. It was bad for a few years.”
Rodriguez said a family friend told him about a culinary school in Costa Mesa called Open Gate International, and it has become his way out.
The program takes aim at equipping people from vulnerable life situations with a skill set to find gainful employment, but also the life skills to make good choices.
Both Rodriguez and his stepbrother, David Lopez, 30, work for Open Gate Kitchen, the restaurant and proving ground for the culinary school’s graduates.
Open Gate International, an Orange County-based culinary school and nonprofit organization, has produced 138 graduates since it was launched in January 2017.
Guarded as one with his past might be, Rodriguez recounted that he would seldom talk to anyone when he entered the program. He learned to love it and said that Open Gate marked his first graduation of any kind, a broad smile showing on his face as he talked about the happiness it brought him.
Rodriguez is married. He has fathered two children from two different women, and he also has a stepdaughter. His outlook on life has improved dramatically. He says he has stayed away from drugs, with his kids serving as the motivation.
“We both lived that life,” Rodriguez said of himself and his stepbrother trying to turn their lives around. “We’re just trying to change now. We’re trying to progress.
“We’re trying to get a house together. From kids doing crimes and going to jail together to now we’re working, getting paychecks, saving.”
Human trafficking had been an issue that Deidre Pujols, 44, a champion for vulnerable populations and the wife of Angels baseball star Albert Pujols, wanted to address. Open Gate International grew out of those efforts.
Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson proved his muscles aren’t just for show by ripping the front gate off his own house so that he could get to work on time.
The 48-year-old actor and fitness enthusiast shared a photo of his front gate laying in the grass near his home on Friday with a lengthy caption explaining that a power outage forced him to take matters into his own hands, literally, so that he could get back to work on the movie “Red Notice.”
“Not my finest hour, but a man’s gotta go to work. We experienced a power outage due to severe storms, causing my front gate not to open,” he wrote. “I tried to override the hydraulic system to open the gates, which usually works when power goes out – but this time it wouldn’t.”
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Johnson explained that the earliest estimate he could get for a technician to come and help was about 45 minutes.
“By this time, I know I have hundreds of production crew members waiting for me to come to work so we can start our day,” he continued. “So I did what I had to do. I pushed, pulled and ripped the gate completely off myself. Tore it out of the brick wall, severed the steel hydraulics and threw it on the grass.”
Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson ripped the gate off his own house. (Vivian Zink/NBC)
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The “Jumanji” star noted that his security team waited until technicians arrived and replaced the gate. In a follow-up post, he shared a pair of videos showing the repairs being done as well as the damage the massive celebrity did on his own gate.
“Maybe next time I’ll just hop the gates and call an Uber. Actually, no I won’t. There’s no fun in that,” he joked in the caption.
“Just one of those days where I wasn’t in the mood,” he concluded. “We’ve all been there.”
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The actor was anxious to get back to work on his movie “Red Notice” alongside Ryan Reynolds. The film’s production was delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but resumed production earlier this month.
Engineers Gate Manager LP boosted its position in shares of Floor & Decor Holdings Inc (NYSE:FND) by 303.0% during the second quarter, Holdings Channel.com reports. The fund owned 40,927 shares of the company’s stock after acquiring an additional 30,772 shares during the quarter. Engineers Gate Manager LP’s holdings in Floor & Decor were worth $2,359,000 as of its most recent filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission.
A number of other hedge funds and other institutional investors have also recently added to or reduced their stakes in FND. Financial Architects Inc raised its stake in Floor & Decor by 400.0% during the 1st quarter. Financial Architects Inc now owns 1,000 shares of the company’s stock worth $32,000 after acquiring an additional 800 shares during the period. Lenox Wealth Management Inc. bought a new stake in shares of Floor & Decor during the second quarter valued at approximately $48,000. Capital Analysts LLC bought a new stake in shares of Floor & Decor during the second quarter valued at approximately $49,000. Private Advisor Group LLC bought a new stake in shares of Floor & Decor during the second quarter valued at approximately $56,000. Finally, Fifth Third Bancorp raised its position in shares of Floor & Decor by 69.1% during the first quarter. Fifth Third Bancorp now owns 2,117 shares of the company’s stock valued at $68,000 after buying an additional 865 shares during the last quarter.
Several equities research analysts have recently issued reports on FND shares. Morgan Stanley lifted their price objective on shares of Floor & Decor from $28.00 to $70.00 and gave the company an “equal weight” rating in a research report on Monday, August 3rd. TheStreet upgraded shares of Floor & Decor from a “c+” rating to a “b-” rating in a research report on Thursday, June 4th. Berenberg Bank started coverage on shares of Floor & Decor in a research report on Tuesday, June 23rd. They set a “buy” rating and a $74.00 price objective on the stock. Zacks Investment Research upgraded shares of Floor & Decor from a “hold” rating to a “strong-buy” rating and set a $76.00 price objective on the stock in a research report on Monday, August 3rd. Finally, Robert W. Baird lifted their price objective on shares of Floor & Decor from $60.00 to $75.00 and gave the company an “outperform” rating in a research report on Monday, July 27th. Eight equities research analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating, twelve have assigned a buy rating and one has assigned a strong buy rating to the stock. The company presently has an average rating of “Buy” and an average price target of $66.47.
Shares of FND stock traded up $2.01 on Monday, hitting $73.57. The stock had a trading volume of 8,205 shares, compared to its average volume of 1,443,758. The company has a quick ratio of 0.44, a current ratio of 1.56 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 1.30. The business has a 50 day moving average price of $69.60