🐤 Throwing it all away

A landfill taller than the Statue of Liberty might be getting much bigger soon.

Monday | September 18th, 2023
Early Chirp

Happy Monday, chirpers! You shouldn’t judge a book by its cover, but it’s also not a great idea to judge a news show by its title.

After spending more than half a century on CBS living up to its name, “60 Minutes” is about to expand beyond its titular hour-long newsmagazine.

For six episodes this fall, the program will be on for a super-sized 90 minutes.

You might think this is a way to fill airtime amid an ongoing writer’s strike, but network bosses say it’s a way to deal with disrupted schedules when the NFL airs double-headers.

-Chris Agee

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*Market data for this issue is from September 17th, 2023 at 6:57pm EST

🏦 Markets: There’s some big news expected this week that could shape the short- and long-term prospects of the U.S. stock market.

The Federal Reserve meets tomorrow and is expected to issue its announcement about interest rates on Wednesday. Housing market updates are also set to be released this week.

Corporate earnings reports will continue dropping over the next few days, including data from FedEx, Auto Zone, and General Mills.


The Breakdown

A quick look around the world.

The Breakdown Giphy

💵 Making adjustments: It’s no surprise that the cost of living is only getting higher, but Social Security recipients will likely receive some much-needed help next year. Estimates indicate that the average monthly benefit will increase by more than 3% in 2024, representing about $57 more per month in the pockets of seniors. But the Senior Citizens League reacted to the news by noting that it still isn’t enough to keep pace with rising prices caused by inflation.

🏈 On the sidelines: A major collision on the field over the weekend is expected to land University of Colorado star Travis Hunter on the injured list for at least a couple of weeks. Coach Deion Sanders said “his health is more important than this game.” Hunter was hit hard by Colorado State safety Henry Blackburn in the first quarter, but reports didn’t specify that the collision caused the injury. The Buffaloes went on to chalk up a 43-35 victory over rival Colorado State.

🌾 Against the grain: In the aftermath of Russia’s invasion last year, Ukraine began relying heavily on its ability to export grain to neighboring countries. But the lopsided trade made it more difficult for farmers elsewhere in Europe to make a profit, so the European Commission instituted a ban. That prohibition has since been lifted, though, and the commission is now calling on Poland, Hungary, and Slovakia — the three holdouts — to once again start accepting Ukrainian grain.

👷 Rejected offer: Workers at the Big Three (Ford, GM, and Chrysler’s parent company Stellantis) walked out on Friday amid disputes over pay and working conditions. Negotiations between the companies and the United Auto Workers union continued into the weekend, though, and Stellantis offered a 21% pay increase over four years. Ford and GM offered slightly less. The UAW wants a 40% boost, though, and union boss Shawn Fain called the offer “a no-go.”

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Why New York’s Biggest Landfill Is Only Getting Bigger

It had been scheduled to be shut down by 2025, but those plans have changed.

Why New York’s Biggest Landfill Is Only Getting Bigger Waste Connections/YouTube screenshot

Despite widespread efforts to cut down on waste and recycle, an overwhelming majority of America’s trash still ends up in a landfill. And in New York, there’s a pretty decent chance that the last stop for garbage will be Seneca Meadows.

A brief overview

This massive landfill is the state’s biggest and has long been a sore spot for those who live nearby. Here are some reasons why:

  • The garbage pile is almost 300 feet high
  • Its footprint covers more than 350 acres
  • Locals say it produces a terrible odor

With a height greater than the Statue of Liberty and covering an area about the size of 265 football fields, it’s no wonder that many folks have wanted to see Seneca Meadows shut down. And for a while, it appeared that would be the case.

The site had been scheduled to close by the end of 2025.

Change of plans

Waste Connections, the Texas-based company that owns the landfill, apparently doesn’t want to abandon the gigantic garbage heap. It has petitioned state authorities to allow continued dumping in a 47-acre area between the site’s two biggest mountains.

Doing so would result in piling on enough garbage to fill MetLife Stadium at least 10 times over and would likely keep Seneca Meadows in operation until at least 2040.

Locals say the problem goes beyond a pervasive stench of rotting diapers and decaying meat.

For those living to the east of the enormous mound, the sun actually sets sooner due to the obstruction. Then there’s the traffic congestion caused by the dump trucks constantly visiting the landfill.

But perhaps the worst side effects are health-related. Dust in the air has caused locals to choke and runoff from the waste has even been blamed for contaminating the area’s drinking water.

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work life

Student Loan Assistance Is Becoming An Increasingly Common Employee Perk

As borrowers prepare to resume payments, many employers are offering to help.

Student Loan Assistance Is Becoming An Increasingly Common Employee Perk Giphy

After an extended pandemic-era reprieve, student loan borrowers will soon be on the hook to continue paying back their loans. Meanwhile, employers nationwide continue looking for ways to recruit and retain the best employees possible.

It was only a matter of time before these two issues converged.

The birth of a new perk

While the Biden administration has faced legal and political roadblocks in its efforts to erase a large portion of the nation’s college loan debt, there’s nothing stopping private companies from providing such relief for their employees.

And there’s evidence that a growing number of employers are warming up to the idea of offering student loan assistance as a corporate benefit.

One example is HSA Bank, where Executive Managing Director Kevin Robertson said a tuition reimbursement program unveiled earlier this year has become a benefit that is “not only attractive but really relevant” to many employees.

He noted that there’s also a clear benefit to employers, particularly during a period of low unemployment rates.

Your mileage may vary

HSA Bank is hardly alone in providing this type of assistance to employers. One recent survey found that nearly 50% of employers are offering some form of tuition assistance.

Of course, the scope of these benefits differs greatly from one company to the next.

Liberty Mutual has one of the more comprehensive programs out there and 1,242 of its employees took advantage of it last year alone. The benefit covers up to $6,000 per year for undergraduate education and up to $9,000 in annual graduate education costs.

Alex Hall, a VP at the insurance company, explained that he “felt supported” and empowered to apply for college programs he would have otherwise skipped because he knew his employer was there.

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Exploring The Aftermath Of Airbnb’s New York City Exit

The Big Apple's new law is rubbing a lot of locals the wrong way.

Exploring The Aftermath Of Airbnb’s New York City Exit Shutterstock

Whether you live in the Big Apple or not, you might have heard about a new law that essentially bans short-term home rentals in the nation’s most populous city. The move has forced platforms like Airbnb and VRBO to all but pull out of the market entirely.

The debate rages on

Proponents of the new law say there are a host of potential benefits to strictly limiting the availability of short-term rentals by property owners.

It could crack down on rich investors scooping up property in order to list it on Airbnb while easing the noise associated with high renter turnover.

But while the best-case scenario involves lower rent and quieter neighborhoods, a large swath of the city remains concerned about more immediate problems.

Many of the Airbnb hosts across New York City put their property up for rent in order to help afford the city’s sky-high housing prices. Now that they’re unable to supplement their costs, they’re afraid they’ll be forced to move.

Tricia’s story

One of many people who fall into this category is 64-year-old Tricia Toliver, a freelance stage manager who has been able to bring in $3,000+ each month for about five years by listing the first floor of her Brooklyn townhouse on Airbnb.

Although she’d be able to rent it out to a long-term tenant under the current rules, that would open her up to new legal risks and requirements and she’s never had any interest in becoming a landlord. So she remains in limbo with her bottom floor unoccupied and that much-needed monthly income completely dried up.

Nearly 11,000 rentals were pulled since the law went into effect, meaning many other New Yorkers are in the same boat as Tricia.

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Early Chirp

Written by Chris Agee

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