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Seniors displaced by fire could be charged for cable boxes

Updated: Friday, June 20, 2014 |
Seniors displaced by fire could be charged for cable boxes story image
BATTLE CREEK, Mich. (NEWSCHANNEL 3) - Seniors forced out of their apartments after a devastating fire in Battle Creek are now facing a new challenge.

50 seniors lost their home after a building at Lakeview Meadows Apartments burned down on Monday.

Now, area agencies working to help the displaced seniors say the cable company is asking for money.

The seniors were customers of Comcast Cable, and according to the Area Agency on Aging, which is working to help the victims, the company wants to be paid for every cable box destroyed.

CEO of the Agency on Aging Carla Fales says Comcast told her it wanted $120 for each cable box, even though the seniors just lost their homes and many are low income.

When Newschannel 3 first heard about the story, we called Comcast's corporate offices.

They assured Newschannel 3 that the seniors would not be asked to pay the $120.

A spokesperson said, "I can assure everyone there is a process in place; we are working individually with customers to help them in this difficult time."

The spokesperson would not guarantee there would be no fees, but said in most cases like this, they will waive charges.
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COMCAST-CUSTOMER SUPPORT

CHICAGO (AP) -- Comcast says it is planning to hire thousands and roll out new tools to improve its customer service.

The Philadelphia company has long been dogged by a terrible reputation for customer service. It told a cable industry trade show in Chicago that it will add 5,500 customer service jobs over the next few years, build three new call centers and add technicians.

It also wants to simplify its bills and will begin testing new versions in Portland, Oregon, in June.

CONGRESS-LABOR

WASHINGTON (AP) -- The Senate has sustained President Barack Obama's veto of a bill that would have scrapped a new government rule on union elections.

The vote Tuesday was 96-3. It marked the second time Congress has failed to override an Obama veto since Republicans took control of the House and Senate in January. Obama earlier vetoed legislation to build the Keystone XL pipeline.

Proponents of the union rules say they are modest reforms that would simplify and streamline union elections. They say they would limit the ability of companies to drag out the certification process and buy time to fight the union.

Critics say the new rules would allow unions to ambush companies with demands for votes on representation.

FARMER DRONES

FRESNO, Calif. (AP) -- A drone large enough to carry tanks of fertilizers and pesticides has won rare approval from federal authorities to spray crops in the United States.

Officials say the drone, called the RMAX, is a remotely piloted helicopter that weighs 207 pounds. Yamaha Corp. U.S.A. developed the aircraft.

Smaller drones weighing a few pounds had already been approved for limited use to take pictures that help farmers identify unhealthy crops. The RMAX is the first time a drone big enough to carry a payload has been approved.

The drone already has been used elsewhere, including by rice farmers in Japan. The FAA approved it for the U.S. on Friday.

The drone is best suited for precision spraying on California's rolling vineyards and places that are hard to reach from the ground or with larger, piloted planes.

NEW ZEALAND-KIMDOTCOM

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (AP) -- Internet file-storage company Mega Ltd., launched in 2013 by indicted entrepreneur Kim Dotcom, failed Wednesday in a bid to list on New Zealand's stock market.

Mega last year announced plans to list through a maneuver known as a reverse takeover.

But TRS Investments, the intended vehicle for the listing, filed a notice with the market today saying Mega had failed to get approval from its shareholders for the takeover.

Dotcom previously founded the file-sharing site Megaupload, which became wildly popular before it was shut down by U.S. authorities in 2012.

U.S. prosecutors are seeking to extradite Dotcom from New Zealand on racketeering charges, accusing him of facilitating massive piracy of songs and movies.

Dotcom says he can't be held responsible for those who used Megaupload for illegal downloading. His extradition hearing has been delayed several times and is now due to be heard some time after Sept. 1.

RESORTS WORLD-VEGAS

LAS VEGAS (AP) -- The developer of a sprawling Chinese-themed resort on the Las Vegas Strip says the hotel-casino is expected to open by mid-2018 on the former site of the Stardust Hotel.

Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval and officials from Malaysia-based Genting Group placed golden shovels into hard dirt Tuesday afternoon at the 88-acre site next to Circus Circus, signaling the start of construction for Resorts World Las Vegas.

Genting Group first promised a 2016 opening when it bought the site from Boyd Gaming in 2013 for $350 million.

Boyd Gaming had partially built its proposed Echelon casino-hotel on the site before it stopped construction in 2008 as the economic downturn took hold.

Plans for the $4 billion Resorts World Las Vegas include 3,500 rooms, an outdoor amphitheater and a possible panda habitat.

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