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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.


Community

Garden tails

The threat of bad weather didn’t keep visitors away from Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden July 10 for the facility’s weekly Flowers After 5 event (which pairs music and food with a chance to stroll the garden) and its monthly Fidos After 5 (which allows dog owners to bring their pets with them to enjoy the evening). > Read more.

Western Henrico Rotary helps fund Midwives For Haiti Jeep


Thanks in part to a $10,000 gift from the Western Henrico Rotary Club, another bright pink Jeep modified to travel extremely rough terrain has been delivered to Midwives For Haiti so that more pregnant women in the quake-ravaged country will have access to prenatal care and a greater chance of surviving childbirth.

The funds were raised at the annual casino night held in February, club president Adam Cherry said. The Rotary Club also helped purchase the Virginia-based charity’s first pink jeep three years ago. > Read more.

Agencies combine on new entry point to Chickahominy


Canoeing and kayaking enthusiasts soon will have a new access point to the Chickahominy River. VDOT, the James River Association and Henrico County Parks and Recreation are teaming up to establish a new site in Eastern Henrico.

The James River Association negotiated the deal with VDOT to procure official access to the area located just east of I-295 on North Airport Road in Sandston. The site includes a park-and-ride commuter lot bordering the Chickahominy River and has been an unofficial launch site used by paddlers for years. > Read more.

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Entertainment

Weekend Top 10


Take in a show at several locations this weekend! West End Comedy will provide laughs at HATTheatre; the production of “Pump Boys and Dinettes” will close Sunday; and the youth theatre company CharacterWorks will present “Footloose” at The Steward School. Another show perfect for the kids – “Despicable Me 2” is playing at the Eastern Henrico Recreation Center tonight. For all our top picks this weekend, click here! > Read more.

Is there an Echo in here?

‘Earth to Echo’ aims to become this generation’s ‘ET’
It’s no secret that all found-footage genre movies are the same. Grab a couple of characters, give one of them a camera, and expose them to something supernatural that’s content to lurk just off-screen until the last five minutes. Everything else will just fall into place.

But that formula isn’t particularly family friendly, if only because that thing waiting a few feet to the left of the cast is usually plotting their violent doom.

That’s what sets Earth to Echo apart from the pack. It, too, follows a group of characters armed with a camera and a tendency to encounter unknown life forms. But all those familiar parts have been rearranged just enough to make it suitable for a much younger audience. > Read more.

Weekend Top 10


An eclectic array of events are taking place this weekend throughout the county. In the West End, we have the Richmond Wedding Expo, the Under the Stars Family Film Series and Henrico Theatre Company’s production of “Pump Boys and Dinettes.” In the eastern part of the county, we have a blood drive at the Eastern Henrico Recreation Center, Gallmeyer Farm’s annual Sweet Corn Festival and an origami workshop at Fairfield Library. For all our top picks this weekend, click here! > Read more.

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Learn about slime and its basic ingredients in a series of hands-on activities at 2 p.m. at Fairfield Library, 1001 N. Laburnum Ave. Includes a take home science project, “Slime… Full text

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