Elite Yelpers, be warned: A hotel in Hudson, New York, will fine you for posting a negative review of your stay anywhere online.
Here's how the Union Street Guest House, a historic inn in the Catskill mountains and popular lodging choice for wedding parties, describes its policy for online reviews:
Please know that despite the fact that wedding couples love Hudson and our Inn, your friends and families may not. This is due to the fact that your guests may not understand what we offer — therefore we expect you to explain that to them. USGH & Hudson are historic. The buildings here are old (but restored). Our bathrooms and kitchens are designed to look old in an artistic "vintage" way. Our furniture is mostly hip, period furniture that you would see in many design magazines (although comfortable and functional — obviously all beds are brand new). If your guests are looking for a Marriott type hotel they may not like it here."
Since the New York Post's Page Six picked up on the policy in a post this morning, USGH has quietly removed a portion of their "Reviews Policy," which read as such:
Therefore: If you have booked the Inn for a wedding or other type of event anywhere in the region and given us a deposit of any kind for guests to stay at USGH there will be a $500 fine that will be deducted from your deposit for every negative review of USGH placed on any internet site by anyone in your party and/or attending your wedding or event.
Page Six readers, many of whom were never guests of the hotel, have since flooded the inn's Yelp page to defiantly write negative reviews. "Well that kinda backfired, didn't it?" wrote one Yelper. "You are charging $500 for bad reviews. Do you consider offering a reward of $500 for good reviews?" wrote another.
While the flood of frantic poor reviews may eventually be scrubbed from Union Street Guest House's Yelp page (Yelp, Fast Company notes, is pretty good about removing fake and/or troll-y reviews), it may still be hard for the business to recover. Thankfully, though, one Yelper is optimistic. --Samantha Rollins
The two civilian victims killed Friday during the shooting at a Planned Parenthood clinic in Colorado Springs have been identified by their families as Jennifer Markovsky, 36, and Ke'Arre Stewart, 29.
— Matt Pearce (@mattdpearce) November 29, 2015
Markovsky was a mother of two, The Denver Post reports, and Stewart, an Army veteran who served in Iraq, was a father of two. Family members told Hawaii News Now that Markovsky accompanied a friend to an appointment at the clinic; the friend was shot in the hand. Authorities in Colorado Springs said they are waiting until the autopsies are completed before formally identifying the two victims.
— Matt Pearce (@mattdpearce) November 29, 2015
Also killed in the shooting was Garrett Swasey, 44, a University of Colorado-Colorado Springs police officer who responded to the scene after the shooting began Friday morning. Nine people were injured, and all are expected to recover, The Guardian reports. Catherine Garcia
Citing "recent tragic events at other campuses across the country," University of Chicago President Robert J. Zimmer announced Sunday that after receiving information from the FBI about an online threat, the school was canceling all Monday classes and activities on its Hyde Park campus.
In a statement, Zimmer wrote that counterterrorism officials informed the university that "an unknown individual posted an online threat of gun violence against the University of Chicago, specifically mentioning 'the campus quad' on Monday morning at 10 a.m." Students, non-essential staff, and non-medical faculty are being asked to stay off campus, and there will be an "increased police and security presence on and around campus, including police personnel with visible weapons and other additional measures." The FBI is continuing to investigate the threat, Zimmer said. Catherine Garcia
Instead of fighting crowds for doorbuster deals, more people shopped for bargains this Thanksgiving and Black Friday weekend from the comfort of their own home.
The National Retail Federation estimates that more than 103 million Americans shopped online, and almost 102 million shopped in brick-and-mortar stores. Adobe Systems Inc. says consumers spent around $4.45 billion online during Black Friday, up 14 percent from 2014. Adobe also estimates that more than 50 percent of those shoppers used mobile devices to make purchases. "This holiday may be a wake-up call for store-based retailers to recognize they are going to have to transform their store models to compete with online retailers," Steve Barr, a retail consultant at PricewaterhouseCoopers, told The Wall Street Journal.
Several retailers offered the same promotions online and in store, and some, like Walmart, put major deals up online hours before they were available in stores. It's not just big box stores trying to woo shoppers online; companies like Expedia are also offering special deals for Black Friday and Cyber Monday. "Ultimately, retailers are in a race to capture their share of consumer spending," Barr said. Catherine Garcia
In an open letter posted online Sunday, Lakers guard Kobe Bryant announced that the current NBA season will be his last.
"My heart can take the pounding, my mind can handle the grind, but my body knows it's time to say goodbye," the 37-year-old wrote on The Players Tribune. Bryant, now in his 20th season, has been with the Lakers since 1996, when he was a 17-year-old brought to the team after Vlade Divac was sent to the Charlotte Hornets. He has won five NBA championships and two Olympic gold medals, and was an NBA All-Star pick 17 times and an NBA MVP. In a statement, NBA Commissioner Adam Silver called Bryant "one of the greatest players in the history of our game." Catherine Garcia
Gov. Chris Christie (R-N.J.) hasn't really succeeded yet in standing out in a large pool of Republican presidential hopefuls. His polling numbers are no great shakes, and they even caused him to miss out on one recent primetime debate.
Chris Christie is a solid, pro-life conservative who has managed to govern in liberal New Jersey, face down the big public unions, and win a second term. Gov. Christie can work across the aisle, but he won't get rolled by the bureaucrats. We don't need as President some well-meaning person from the private sector who has no public experience.
Gov. Christie is right for these dangerous times. He has prosecuted terrorists and dealt admirably with major disasters. But the one reason he may be best-suited to lead during these times is because he tells it like it is and isn't shy about it. [Union Leader]
— Chris Christie (@ChrisChristie) November 29, 2015
Philip Williams, a 69-year-old U.S. Navy veteran, said he returned to West Hempstead, New York, in August after recovering from a knee replacement and ensuing complications to find that his home had been demolished.
— IndyStar (@indystar) November 29, 2015
Williams has filed a notice of claim, the first step in filing a lawsuit against the town, The Associated Press reported Saturday. The veteran is seeking reimbursement for the house itself and for his belongings, which include his clothing, photos of his children, and his late wife's engagement ring. He has also asked police for a criminal inquiry.
"I'm angry and I'm upset. It's just wrong on so many levels," Williams told AP. "My mortgage was up to date, my property taxes were up to date...everything was current and fine."
Town officials said they held a public hearing before demolishing the house, which they considered a "dilapidated dwelling," after looking into neighbors' complaints. They also said they made attempts to notify Williams of the decision while he was recovering in Florida, a claim the veteran has disputed.
"You see people who went through a tornado or a flood and they say they lost everything, but that's not preventable," Williams said. "This was preventable." Julie Kliegman
Not only is baby Princess Charlotte fourth in line for the British throne, but she also continues to be unfairly cute. Kensington Palace tweeted out two new photos of the 6-month-old Sunday that were captured by her mother Kate Middleton, the Duchess of Cambridge. Brace yourself for the adorableness of the baby and her stuffed animal below:
The Duke and Duchess hope everyone enjoys these new photos of Princess Charlotte as much as they do. pic.twitter.com/ylZ7VvOuIY
— Kensington Palace (@KensingtonRoyal) November 29, 2015
"The Duke and Duchess continue to receive warm messages about Princess Charlotte from all around the world and they hope that everyone enjoys these lovely photos as much as they do," USA Today reports the palace said in a statement. Julie Kliegman