Short Pump mall suspends cell-phone tracking program

Short Pump Town Center and another shopping mall in California have stopped tracking shoppers' cell phone signals temporarily, following a request from U.S. Senator Charles Schumer of New York. CNNMoney was first to report the announcement.

Short Pump Town Center and the Promenade Temecula in southern California (both Forest City Enterprises properties) began tracking the cell phone signals of shoppers on Black Friday in an attempt to cull information about their habits. Though the tracking was done anonymously, it raised concerns among some shoppers and other observers who felt it still was a violation of privacy.

Both malls had put signs up on their properties to alert shoppers of the program and advising them to turn their phones off if they did not want their phones to be tracked. The malls planned to continue the program through New Year's Day.

"A shopper's personal cell phone should not be used by a third party as a tracking device by retailers who are seeking to determine holiday shopping patterns," Schumer said in a statement, according to CNNMoney. "Personal cell phones are just that -- personal. If retailers want to tap into your phone to see what your shopping patterns are, they can ask you for your permission to do so."

Forest City officials said that they have suspended the tracking program in order to work with its developer to address the concerns raised by Schumer and to discover if there are easier ways to allow shoppers to opt out.

Schumer had expressed concern that even though the malls were tracking shoppers anonymously, the possibility existed that the data could be available to hackers, who might then be able to connect to shoppers' personal information.
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Fresh Air Fund seeks host families


The Fresh Air Fund, a program through which nearly 4,000 children from low-income New York City communities spend a summer with host families in communities along the East Coast and in southern Canada, is seeking hosts for the coming summer.

According to the organization, there is no such thing as a “typical” host family. First-time Fresh Air children are boys and girls, from seven to 12 years old. Children who are reinvited by host families may continue with The Fresh Air Fund through age 18 and can enjoy extended trips. > Read more.

Godwin student wins in statewide STEM essay contest

Governor Terry McAuliffe and the Virginia Council on Women announced recently that Morgan Logsdon of Mills E. Godwin High School was one of five statewide winners of the sixth-annual STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) Essay Contest for young women enrolled in their junior or senior year of high school.

The Council on Women established the contest to award scholarships to high school junior and senior young women who plan to pursue STEM careers at institutions of higher education. > Read more.

Varina meeting May 2 to address opioid crisis in Henrico


Varina District Supervisor Tyrone E. Nelson will hold a Community Conversations meeting Tuesday, May 2 to discuss the opioid epidemic in Henrico County.

The meeting will be held at 6:30 p.m. at the Henrico Theatre, 305 E. Nine Mile Road. Nelson will be joined by County Manager John A. Vithoulkas and members of the Henrico Heroin Task Force for a discussion of heroin and opioid abuse and ways to prevent it. > Read more.

Baker ES to remain closed until fall


Baker Elementary School students will complete the 2016-17 school year at other locations and will return to a restored building in fall 2017, school leaders have decided.

The decision was made in order to provide ample time for repairs to be completed at the fire-damaged school and to avoid additional interruptions to instructional time. > Read more.

Henrico Police arrest 2 Georgia men in connection with January murder


Henrico Police have arrested and charged two Georgia men with first-degree murder in connection with the Jan. 18 murder of 36-year-old Lamont Cornelius Baldwin in the 1200 block of Dominion Townes Terrace.

Antonio Tyrone Johnson (above, left) and Santonio Rodrigus Brown (above, right), both 24 and both of Atlanta, were charged. Johnson also was charged with use of a firearm in commission of a felony and possession of a firearm by a felon. > Read more.

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April 2017
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